How Love Fulfills the Law of God


How does the New Testament relate to the Old Testament? Do any Old Testament laws apply to the Christian today? If so, how much? Romans 13:8-10 connects love and the law in some very interesting ways.

Does Any of the Old Testament Law Apply to Christians?

The relationship of the Christian to the Mosaic Law has been a topic of considerable debate. From the time of the 1st century church and the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 to modern times, Christians have wondered how much of the law they are obligated to follow. At the heart of the question is the relationship between the New Covenant inaugurated by Christ and the Old Testament covenants, particularly the Mosaic.

The relationship between the covenants is often described by the terms “continuity” and “discontinuity” to delineate views that either ascribe a high degree of similarity between the covenants (continuity) or very little (discontinuity). Since a thorough discussion of this massive topic is outside the range of this paper, I wish simply to look at Romans 13:8-10, along with supporting passages, to gain a better understanding of the relationship of the law between the New Covenant and the Mosaic Covenant.

In Romans 13:8-10, I will argue that Paul’s declaration that loving one’s neighbor fulfills the law includes both elements of continuity and discontinuity between the two covenants in question. Continuity is seen in the command itself while an aspect of discontinuity is seen in the law actually fulfilled in believers via the work of Christ, the presence of the Spirit, and good deeds done through the motive of love.

Continuity in Command

The Centrality of Law Shown Generally in the Covenants

Before examining the relationship between Romans 13:8-10 and the Mosaic Covenant, it is worth examining the role of law in all the covenants to gain an understanding of the high priority God places upon law itself throughout the ages. For the purpose of this article, I will be using Berkhof’s definition of law: “everything in Scripture [that] is a revelation of God’s will in the form of command or prohibition.”[1] In the Covenant of Works that God instituted during the time of Adam’s probation in the Garden of Eden, the whole duty of man was summed up in the singular command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17). The importance of this singular law is highlighted in the punishment of banishment from God’s presence, and the sentence of physical and spiritual death, upon its transgression.

After the banishment from Eden, transgression of God’s creation ordinances commanding the propagation and preservation of human life can be seen in the murder of Abel (Gen. 4:6), polygamy (Gen. 4:19), ungodly marriages (Gen. 6:1-2), and the violence that had filled the earth (Gen. 6:13). In short, lawlessness reigned and culminated in the worldwide flood judgment (6:17).

Following the flood judgment, God makes a covenant with Noah and reaffirms his creation mandate for man to propagate and fill the earth but includes a specific law to protect the life of man via the threat of capital punishment (Gen. 9:5-6). Once more, the seriousness of God’s covenant law is punctuated by the threat of death upon transgression. In God’s covenant with Abraham, the law is in the form of the command for Abraham to leave his people and country and follow the voice of God to a new land to be formed into a new people (Gen. 12:1-3). Under the Mosaic Covenant, the importance of law is punctuated in the tablets of the Decalogue written in God’s own hand (Ex. 31:18). The law in the Davidic Covenant can be harder to identify but is implied in 2 Sam. 7:14 where God threatens to discipline the Davidic king when he commits iniquity. What iniquity, or transgression of divine law, is God referring to? Here the reference is most likely to the Mosaic Law generally, especially the obligations for kings (Deut. 17:14-20).

Finally, under the New Covenant in Christ, the central law (or obligation) for God’s people seems to be faith in Christ since the threats of abandoning the Covenant appear to revolve around faithlessness (Heb. 10:26-39). Thus, the law exists as a central principle in every covenant God makes with man.

Centrality of Loving One’s Neighbor in the Mosaic Covenant

Now that the importance of law in general has been established through a survey of the covenants, it is time to look more closely at the relationship between Romans 13:8-10 and the Mosaic Law. Here, the Apostle Paul makes the bold claim that loving one’s neighbor is both a summary and fulfillment of the law when he says, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (ESV).[2] In deciding whether this command shows continuity or discontinuity with the demands of the Mosaic Covenant, the question must be asked, is Paul saying that love of neighbor is something entirely unique to the New Covenant?

Though the Mosaic Law is sometimes caricatured as only addressing the outer actions of man, a closer examination will show the error of this kind of summarization. The reality is that Paul is not coming up with a new commandment, he is in fact quoting Leviticus 19:17-18. This particular passage of the Mosaic Law occurs in what is often called “the holiness code.” At the start of chapter 19, God declares to Moses that all Israel shall be holy as he is holy (Lev. 19:1-2). God then gives specific directives as to what this holiness is to look like, including how one is to relate to their neighbor.

In Leviticus 19:17-18, God declares that hatred of brother is prohibited and love of neighbor is required. The command states, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” Roy Gane observes that this command clearly shows that, with its regulations of what man is to love and not to hate, the Mosaic Law dealt with internal realities of the heart and not merely external actions. In fact, Gane sees this as a unique aspect of God’s law, one that stands in contrast to our contemporary law code which dares only to address external actions. [3]

Though this law is mentioned in the holiness code, how much weight was it given? In other words, in respect to all the other laws in the Mosaic Covenant, what level of importance did it hold? Moo believes the command was given “no special attention” in Judaism.[4] Frame calls the command “obscure,” presumably in comparison to the prominence of the command to love God in Deut. 6:4-5.[5]

Whatever Jews of Moses’ time forward might have thought, by the first century A.D. the command had clearly risen in importance in the minds of some Jewish legal experts. Apparently, summarizing the Torah’s commands was a priority for some Jewish teachers. [6] Rabbi Akiba, a first century Jewish teacher that is called the “father of rabbinical Judaism, [7] supposedly viewed loving one’s neighbor as a central principle of the law. [8] Both Jesus (Matt. 22:34-40), and a Jewish legal expert he conversed with (Luke 10:25-28), believed love of neighbor was the second of the two great commandments in the Mosaic Law.

The Apostle Paul, formerly a Jewish Pharisee who studied under the famous teacher of the law Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), followed Jesus’ lead and also affirmed the centrality of the love command (Rom. 13:8-10). Given the above evidence, it is possible that the two great commandments, loving God and neighbor, had come to be viewed as a summary of the Decalogue by the first century by a fairly important segment of Old Testament experts. [9]

Centrality of Loving Neighbor in the New Covenant

Apart from Jesus’ words already mentioned above in Matthew 22:34-40, where he affirms loving one’s neighbor as one of the great commandments summarizing the law, it is hard to find a more explicit statement of the central role of this command in the New Covenant than Romans 13:8-10. Several observations from this passage are worth mentioning which illuminate the connection between Paul’s statements and Mosaic Law. First, Paul affirms the relevancy of the Leviticus 19:18 command by restating it for Christians.

Second, he summarizes several of the Decalogue’s commands in light of the love command. The essence of not committing adultery, not murdering, and not stealing, are simply what it means to love another person by doing them no harm. Third, by connecting these commands in the Decalogue with Leviticus 19:18 and its relevancy for Christians, Paul is affirming the abiding use of the Ten Commandments for New Covenant believers. Though Paul only names four commandments specifically, his inclusion of “and any other commandment” (Romans 13:9) generally encompasses the rest of the Mosaic ethical standards regulating behavior between individuals. Fourth, by connecting law and love, Paul also affirms the role of law in regulating the internal motives of individuals, just like the Mosaic Law.

The Epistle to the Romans isn’t the only place that Paul affirms the central role of love in relational ethics. In Galatians 5:14, he says essentially the same thing, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” This Galatians reference is an important one since throughout the letter Paul is confronting the arguments of the Judaizers who wish to bring New Covenant believers in Galatia under the full force and authority of the Mosaic Law for salvation (Gal. 2:15-21). Without going into the depths of what Paul was debating throughout the letter, it is interesting that in Galatians 5:14 he seeks to reorient his readers away from the legalistic distractions that are causing disunity and prohibiting loving service toward one another (Gal. 5:13). Paul’s justification for this reorientation is ironically the very law that the Galatian believers are misusing. Paul tells them the heart of the law and its ethical commandments are summarized in the command to love one another (Gal. 5:14). By misusing the law for salvation, the Galatians are also misusing it in how they are treating one another. If the Galatians think that Paul’s message somehow nullifies the moral demands of the law, the apostle sets them straight by highlighting that the central concern of Mosaic ethics has always been love towards one another. [10]

From these passages, it is clear that Paul believes loving one’s neighbor is central to New Covenant ethics. But what about the other authors of the New Testament books? Interestingly, Schreiner notes that all the Synoptic authors mention the two greatest love commandments as summaries of the Mosaic Law (Matt. 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-28). [11] Though John does not include these summaries in his gospel, Berkhof believes he communicates the priority of law and love by defining sin as lawlessness (1 John 3:4), and then connecting love for God with keeping his commandments (1 John 5:3).[12] To keep the law then, for John, is to love God. Additionally, keeping God’s commandments obviously entails the numerous commands to love one another that John emphasizes throughout the letter (1 John 2:10; 3:10-18; 4:7-21). Thus, to love God, and avoid the charge of lawlessness, also involves loving one another.

James, the brother of Jesus, also affirms the centrality of love in James 2:8 when he says, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well.” Once again, James affirms the abiding validity of the Leviticus 19:18 command and says that doing it fulfills the law. In fact, of such high importance is this command to James that he calls it the “royal law.”

It is clear from this survey of several New Testament authors, along with the verbiage they use, that loving one’s neighbor is central to New Covenant ethics. Once more, this is a point of clear continuity with Mosaic Law. Both covenants held the standard of love as the central principle of interpersonal ethics.

Discontinuity in Fulfillment

Though the two covenants upheld the same ethical standard of loving one’s neighbor as a central priority, it is important to ask if anything is different between the two ethical systems. In Romans 13:8-10, Paul says that believers who act out of love for their neighbor, while doing the actions the law requires, fulfill (v.8 πεπλήρωκεν, v.10 πλήρωμα) the law. Furthermore, the Apostle says in Galatians 5:14 that the whole law (πᾶς νόμος) is fulfilled (πεπλήρωται) in loving one’s neighbor as themselves. Though he uses a different Greek word, James too says the law is fulfilled (τελεῖτε) through obeying the Leviticus 19:18 command. This aspect of fulfillment seems to be unique to the New Covenant. Consequently, there is some unique reality in the New Covenant concerning the law that makes an advance on what has come before. It is this unique reality that will be explored next.

Meaning of Fulfillment – Various Views

One of the most difficult aspects of the fulfillment concept is trying to understand exactly what it means. At the word level, πλήροω can generally mean to “to fill up” or “complete.” The TDNT entry for the word lists the Rom. 13:8 and Gal. 5:14 usages as “to fulfill a divine demand or claim.”[13] This meaning suggests that the command of Leviticus 19:18 is completed when believers choose to obey God’s revealed will in love. NIDNTTE also puts the emphasis on ethical conduct as that which fulfills or completes the law, first in the life of Jesus (Matthew 5:17) and then in the lives of believers (Romans 13:8, 10; Galatians 5:14 – see the special footnote below for an extended quote of the NIDNTTE entry.)[sf1]

At this point, it might be tempting to stop after a cursory reading of the passage and a simple word study. However, Romans 13:8-10 must also be read in light of what Paul has said earlier in his letter regarding fulfillment. In Romans 8:3-4, Paul asserts that, “[God] by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” This verse states that fulfillment of the law in believers is contingent on prior events. Paul says that it is both the work of Christ on the cross, and the indwelling Holy Spirit, that enable the Christian to fulfill the law. Therefore, Christ and the Spirit play vital roles in believers fulfilling the law and thus no concept of fulfillment will be complete without taking these spiritual realities into account.

The relationship between Christ’s work, the Spirit, and the believer fulfilling the law has been subject to much debate. Should the fulfillment of the law be seen entirely in Christ’s work that is imputed to the believer, entirely in the presence of the Spirit, or in the actual ethical actions of believers that are motivated through the proper inward attitude of love?

Calvin believes that fulfillment in Romans 8:4 is primarily speaking of Christ’s righteousness imputed to the believer and not a believer’s ethical conduct.[14] Therefore, regardless of how a believer behaves, it is Christ as the perfect fulfillment of the law that stands for the believer before God. Nygren essentially holds the same view and adds that it is the believer’s faith in Christ, and receiving his righteousness that brings about fulfillment.[15] On the other end of the spectrum, Frame,[16] MacArthur,[17] Berkhof,[18] and Murray[19] all stress the ethical actions of believers as what constitutes fulfillment. Moo places the stress on the presence of the Spirit in bringing about fulfillment but also wants to retain an element of ethical conduct as part of the equation as well. [20] Schreiner’s position is similar to Moo’s but ties the believer’s actions that fulfill the law with the work of the Spirit that empowers the believer to do so.[21]

Though these views seem somewhat at odds with one another, I believe that a survey of a few relevant Scripture passages will show that the New Covenant envisions the work of Christ, the presence of the Spirit, and the actions of the believer all playing a role in fulfilling the law of love.

Christ’s Role in Fulfillment

Christ’s role in fulfilling the law could be a discussion worthy of hundreds of books but a comprehensive study examining the ins and outs of the issue is not necessary for the purposes of this paper. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared, “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill (πληρῶσαι) them” (Matt. 5:17). Jesus believed that an integral part of his mission was a fulfillment of all the law required and all that the prophets foretold. Bavinck affirms this comprehensive view of Christ’s fulfilling work by stating that the demands and curse of the law, along with its civil and ceremonial requirements, all find their goal and end in Christ.[22] For justification, Bavinck offers Romans 10:4 and Galatians 3:24 as support. In Romans 10:4, Paul states that “Christ is the end (τέλος) of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes,” suggesting that the law finds its purpose and ultimate aim in his person and work. In Galatians 3:24, Paul connects the law, the coming of Christ, and the Christian’s justification by saying, “the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.” In the subsequent verses, Paul connects the Christian’s union with Christ with a release from the law’s guardianship. Whatever the practical nuances of that might mean for Christian living, at the very least a significant change in the Christian’s relationship to the law has occurred through the work of Christ, thus suggesting an element of discontinuity between the covenants at this point. As Paul goes on to say in Galatians 5:14, as already mentioned above, the Christian can now fulfill the law’s requirement to love based on the work of Christ in their lives. Just like in Romans 13:8-10, the Christian’s fulfillment of the law in Galatians 5:14 cannot rightly be understood apart from the theological and spiritual realities Paul establishes earlier in the letter.

To briefly summarize, Calvin’s suggestion that Romans 8:4 speaks to the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer as the means by which the law is fulfilled is partly correct. As noted above, Christ came to fulfill the law and is the law’s end and purpose. By faith, Christians find union with Christ and receive his righteousness. Without this union and imputation, the Christian cannot fulfill the law. All humanity is naturally dead in trespasses and sins and cannot meet the requirements of God’s law. Only Christ is able to do this. Through union and imputation, the believer can also participate in the fulfilling of the law.

The Spirit’s Role in Fulfillment

Romans 13:8-10 also mentions the role of the Holy Spirit as a vital factor that contributes to the believer fulfilling the law of love. To understand the significance of this reality, and how it is a point of discontinuity with the Mosaic Covenant, it is important to understand the promises of the Spirit arrival in the New Covenant that are prophesied in the Old Testament. Of primary concern are the references to the coming Spirit in Ezekiel chapters 36 and 37. Looking forward to an era of spiritual restoration in Israel’s future, God tells Ezekiel that, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statues and be careful to obey my rules” (Ez. 36:27). The presence of the indwelling Spirit is directly related to the obedience of God’s law in his people. This is of particular concern to Ezekiel’s audience since in his day, the southern kingdom has been exiled to Babylon for their covenant unfaithfulness and repeated transgression of God’s law. The future time of restoration will include an act of God upon the interior of man in order to affect obedience. In chapter 37, the Spirit will also be given to bring forth new life in God’s people (37:1-14) that will result in a profound ethical change in comparison with their prior disobedience, along with internal cleansing (37:23). This internal obedience to God’s law from the heart is a characteristic of the New Covenant prophesied by Jeremiah (Jer. 31:31-34). Clearly, the Ezekiel and Jeremiah prophecies bind the work of the Spirit to the internal change God will affect in his people resulting in obedience to the law from the heart.

So how does the New Testament interpret these promises? It is clear that Jeremiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in New Covenant believers as the writer of Hebrews makes clear in Heb. 8:1-13 where he quotes the prophecy directly. The writer of Hebrews ends this passage by stating the New Covenant has replaced the one prior (referring to the Mosaic Covenant) that has become old and obsolete. Furthermore, since Jesus is both “the guarantor of a better covenant” (Heb. 7:22) and its superior high priest (7:23-28), there is also a change in law (7:12). These passages strongly suggest a significant change with the coming of the New Covenant, even regarding the law. Some aspect of discontinuity between the covenants is therefore to be expected.

As for the promises of the Spirit in Ezekiel, the Apostle Paul states that the Spirit of Christ now dwells in believers (Rom. 8:13) and has brought them life (8:10). Additionally, the presence of the Spirit affects the believer’s relationship to the law in several ways. Paul argues that the true circumcision required by the law is not a circumcision of the flesh, but a circumcision of the heart by the Spirit (2:29). Furthermore, the Spirit sets the believer “free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (8:2), referencing the power of the law to expose sin in man and make him aware of the just judgment of God upon him. Practically, the result of the Spirit’s regenerating power, and his releasing the believer from sin and death, results in the fulfillment of the law for those “who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (8:4). Without the Spirit’s regenerating and freeing work, the believer cannot fulfill the law of God. Yet this should be clear upon reflection of the Ezekiel prophecies. Israel could not fulfill the law of God without the power of God in them to do so. Therefore God promises a time where the Spirit will be given to his people (Ez. 36:27) and the law written on their hearts (Jer. 31:31-24) resulting in them walking in his ways (Ez. 36.27). These are exactly the New Covenant realities that Paul describes.

The Believer’s Actions In Fulfillment

So whose view of the fulfillment in Romans 13:8-10 is correct? As demonstrated above, Paul’s understanding of fulfillment in this passage should not be divorced from either the rest of his letter or the totality of Scripture. For Paul, fulfillment of the law includes the work of Christ and the presence of the Spirit. As Gorman observes, the background of 13:8-10 is Paul’s view that, “Christ’s death and the gift of the Spirit enable believers to be the holy covenant people where ‘the just requirement of the law’ is ‘fulfilled.’”[23] Furthermore, no man has the power, or desire, to properly fulfill God’s law (Romans 3:9-18). In fact, the law condemns both Jew and Gentile alike apart from Christ (3:19-20). Clearly, divine intervention is required if the law is to be fulfilled. Therefore, the work of Christ and the Spirit are necessary for the law’s fulfillment.

On the other hand, Romans 13:8-10 must be seen as referring to Christian conduct as well. Paul has transitioned from his theological argument of the letter and turned to his concerns regarding Christian practice (Romans 12:1-2). In this section of the letter, Paul is highly concerned about how Christians live as he puts forward one ethical command after another. Christian action matters in the New Covenant. Yet Paul isn’t content to merely level commands. Romans 13:8-10 is a word of encouragement to his readers. The law can be fulfilled in Christians since Christ and the Spirit have made it possible. Now Christians are to make it actual in their behavior.


Romans 13:8-10, taken within the larger biblical context, demonstrates both the unity and uniqueness of the Mosaic and New Covenants. The law governing interpersonal relationships is the same between both covenants. God’s people are required to love their neighbor as themselves. Yet the New Covenant brings about new realities where God intervenes through the person and work of his Son, imputes the righteousness of his Son to his people, and then fills them with his Spirit who empowers them to fulfill his commands. The fulfillment of the law does not stop with Christ alone. God’s intentions have always been that his people obey his commands. Under the New Covenant, God’s people can make true law keeping from the heart a reality.


[1] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), 612.

[2] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers, 2001). Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references will be from this version.

[3] Roy Gane, Leviticus, Numbers, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), 337.

[4] Douglas J. Moo, Galatians, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 346.

[5] John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing Company, 2008), 192.

[6] Daniel J. Harrington, “Paul’s Use of the Old Testament in Romans,” Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 4, no. 1 (2009): 6.

[7] Louis Ginzburg, “Akiba Ben Joseph,” Jewish Encyclopedia, [accessed May 30, 2016].

[8] Mark F. Rooker, Leviticus, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 258. Rooker includes a footnote reference to Levine’s commentary on Leviticus as the source of Akiba’s view. Levine, B.A. Leviticus, JPS. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1989. (no page number supplied)

[9] G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 872-3.

[10] Douglas J. Moo, Galatians, 346.

[11] Thomas R. Schreiner, The Law and Its Fulfillment (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993), 232.

[12] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 613.

[13] Geoffrey W.Bromiley, ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abr. ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985), 869.

[sf1] Moisés Silva, ed., New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014), 789–790. “The fulfillment of God’s law. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus asserted, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them [οὐκ ἦλθον καταλῦσαι ἀλλὰ πληρῶσαι]” (Matt 5:17; see νόμος G3795). It is clear that fulfillment is not to be understood in a formal way. He had already shown, at least in part, what it meant when he said that it was proper for him to be baptized by John the Baptist “to fulfill all righteousness [πληρῶσαι πᾶσαν δικαιοσύνην]” (3:15). It is, first and foremost, a matter of conduct that conforms to God’s will (cf. 5:19–20, 48). The same point is clearly made by Paul. The sending of God’s Son and the condemnation of sin in the flesh (Rom 8:3) effect what the law could not do, “in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us [ἵνα τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ νόμου πληρωθῇ ἐν ἡμῖν], who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (8:4). When discussing the fulfillment of the law, moreover, Paul normally focuses on the fundamental obligation of love (see ἀγαπάω G26). Thus he can state categorically, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law [νόμον πεπλήρωκεν]” (13:8). He then goes on to list several items from the Decalogue, adding that all commandments “are summed up [ἀνακεφαλαιοῦται] in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (13:9, quoting Lev 18:18; cf. Matt 22:39; John 13:34). He further explains, “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law [πλήρωμα οὖν νόμου ἡ ἀγάπη]” (Rom 13:10). The apostle makes the same point when writing to the Galatians: “For the entire law is fulfilled [ο ‘γὰρ πᾶς νόμος … πεπλήρωται] in keeping this one command [ἐν ἑνὶ λόγῳ, lit., ‘in one word’]: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (Gal 5:14). Concretely, this can mean: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ [ἀναπληρώσετε τὸν νόμον τοῦ Χριστοῦ]” (6:2).”

[14] John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, Calvin’s Commentaries vol. 19, trans. John Owen, Reprint (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2009) 283. Calvin says the same thing in his Institutes. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2008), 491.

[15] Anders Nygren, Commentary on Romans, trans. Carl C. Rasmussen (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1949), 434.

[16] John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing Company, 2008), 28.

[17] John MacArthur, Romans 9-16, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 148.

[18] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 613-4.

[19]John Murray, Principles of Conduct (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1957), 22.

[20] Douglas J. Moo, “The Law of Moses or the Law of Christ,” in Continuity and Discontinuity, ed., John S. Feinberg (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1988), 209-10.

[21] Thomas R. Schreiner, Galatians, Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 335.

[22] Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, ed., John Bolt. 4 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 3:135.

[23] Michael J.Gorman, “Romans 13:8-14,” Interpretation 62, no.2 (Apr. 2008): 171.


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——.Jesus and the Authority of the Mosaic Law.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 20 (1984).

——. Galatians. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013.

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Ridderbos, Herman. Paul: An Outline of His Theology. trans. John Richard De Witt. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975.

Robertson, O. Palmer. The Christ of the Covenants. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1980.

Rooker, Mark F. Leviticus. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000.

Schreiner, Thomas R. The Law and Its Fulfillment. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993.

——. Galatians. Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010.

Silva, Moisés ed., New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014.

Strickland, Wayne G. ed. The Law, the Gospel, and the Modern Christian: Five Views. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1993.

Thielman, Frank. Paul & the Law. Downers Gove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1994.

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Jim Rosenquist

Jim Rosenquist

Jim is Founder, Editor, and Author at 4Elect. He holds a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. Jim rejoices that God chooses insignificant people to bring glory to Himself.

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Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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