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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