¿Qué relación existe entre la gracia, el amor y la ley?

What relationship exists between grace, love and law?

It is true that the New Testament teaches us about the law of love. Love is the fulfillment of the law (Rom 13:10). Indeed, “the whole law is summed up in one commandment: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'” (Gal 5:14). But Scripture never says that love is a replacement for the law, for several important reasons.

The first is that love is what the law commands, and the law is the fulfillment of love. The law of love is not a newly minted idea of ​​the new covenant; It is embodied in the essence of the faith and life of the old covenant. It was to be Israel's continuing confession: the Lord is one, and He must be loved with all the soul (Deut 6:5-6).

The second is the often overlooked principle: love requires direction and rules to operate. Love must be directed, but its direction must not be interpreted subjectively.


Love requires direction and rules to operate.

Paul's exposition of the Christian life in Romans 13:8-10 includes the important principle that love is the fulfillment of the law. But he explains to us that the “law” he speaks of in this context is “the commandments”, that is, the Ten Commandments. He cites four of the commandments of “love of neighbor” (in the order they appeared in his Greek Old Testament in Deuteronomy 5:17-21). But he does not isolate these specific commandments (adultery, murder, theft, covetousness); rather it goes on to include “all the other commandments” (Rom 13:10).

The commandments are the rails on which life moves, empowered by the love of God poured into the heart by the Holy Spirit. Love drives the engine; the law provides direction. They are mutually dependent. The idea that love can operate without the law is a figment of the imagination. Not only is it bad theology, but it is poor psychology. You have to borrow from the law to give eyes to love.

God gave the law to govern His people's relationship with Him ("religious" or "ceremonial" law) and also their relationship with each other in society ("civil" law). The latter was intended for them 1) as a people redeemed from Egypt, 2) while they lived on the land, 3) with a view to the arrival of the Messiah.

But there is a great panorama in the Bible, which extends from Sinai to both the past and the future.

The exodus was itself a restoration that was intended to be seen as a kind of re-Creation. The people were placed in a kind of Eden—a land where “milk and honey abound.” There, as in Eden, they were given commandments in order to regulate their lives for the glory of God. Grace and duty, privilege and responsibility, indicative and imperative, were the order of the day as they lived before God and with each other.

In addition to these applications, or more precisely, as the foundation of them, God gave them the decalogue. It was simply a transcription in largely negative form, placed in a new context on earth, of the principles of life that had constituted Adam's original existence.

Let's move forward to Calvary and the coming of the Spirit. Just as Moses ascended Mount Sinai and brought the law on tables of stone, now Christ has ascended to the heavenly Mount, but unlike Moses, He has sent the Spirit who rewrites the law not merely on tables of stone but in our hearts. Now the power is within, through the indwelling of Christ the obedient, the law-abiding, by the Spirit. This is what now gives both motivation and power to the Christian. And this empowerment redoubles in us what was true for the Lord Jesus—the ability to say, “How I love Your law!” Grace and law are perfectly correlated.


This article was adapted from a portion of the book The Complete Christ , published by Poiema Publications . You can download a free sample by visiting this link .

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