Why Is ‘Love’ The Royal Law?

James and Paul agreed that “Love your neigbor as yourself” is the law which sums up all other laws. Paul called on the Galatians to use their freedom to “serve one another in love” because “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'” (Galatians 5:12-14).

James said: “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love our neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right” (James 2: 8). We all know Jesus gave the two greatest commandments as (1) Loving God with all of our heart, mind, and soul, and (2) Loving our neighbor as ourself.

When James calls loving others as we love ourselves the royal law from Scripture, he is referring to the use of the commandment in the Old Testament. Would you ever have guessed this command comes from Leviticus? In a passage giving various laws such as “Do not steal,” “Do not lie,” and “Do not deceive one another,” God told the people of Israel: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18).

What makes this law the “Royal Law”?

First, this law sums up all the law. In the Bible “love” is more of an action than a feeling. To “love” others as you love yourself means you will not steal, lie, or deceive. You will treat others as you want to be treated. You will not hurt them with the negative, and you will bless them with the positive.

Second, this law is the essence of God. He is love (1 John 4:8). When we love others we are being like our heavenly Father.

Finally, practicing this law blesses our lives and makes us better people. Loving others makes us a king. “Hatred makes a person a slave, but love sets us free from selfishness and enables us to reign like kings” (Warren Wiersbe).

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3 Comments


  1. Ed Matthew
    Jan 20, 2013

    Great Teachings, Amen. Thank you, it seems so clear a litmus paper test on who is your neighbor and who is not. The one who lies about you, takes from you, hurts your family to enrich their own is clearly neither your neighbor, brother or sister. The one who destroys with glowing smooth tongue words puffed up in their diminishing the work of another seeking to be a competitor rather than be complementary in Building together cannot be “Family.”

    Those who join the destroyer become destroyers themselves. It is sad. It shouldn’t be. Nonetheless it is a well recorded truth and we have witnessed Truth bearers stoned, hanged and more. We should read some of those promises of God in the context of living in a working community of His People.

    “Chose this day whom you will serve” is a challenge that applies to how we start everyday and how we approach every situation, as does the “stand” we take on every issue of life. It is not a “stand” in judgement. It is a “stand” with the “whole Armor of God” on for The Light of this World and eternity. Unless of course you consider these words those of one who is “delusional” and the son of a “dreamer” as charged; and both have waisted their lives that their Gift be looted. Their income came from the labor of their own hands with Patience and Perseverance; and their Time and Talents given freely to build and save lives with God’s Principles applied.

    Who would stand with such as these? Only those whose names are already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life as they are “Judged already.”

    Shalom
    Blessings


  2. Brenda Collins
    Jan 20, 2013

    “The Royal Law” Beautiful! Let us all remember the 3 C’s:
    Love God Completely
    Love self Correctly
    Love Others Compassionately
    May God of the Bible richly bless all who read this : )


    • Waylon
      Jan 20, 2013

      Brenda,
      Thanks for a easy to remember statement of how we should fulfill the Royal Law.

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. — Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)