Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Against Such Things There Is No Law

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13, defines love as being kind. Is true love always kind? Yes. Can true love be anything other than kind? No. If you made a law that forbids kindness, would true love disobey that law and show kindness? Yes. That is precisely Paul's point in Galatians 5:22-23 as he describes the fruit of the Spirit and concludes that there are no (nor can there be) laws against these things. There are (and must be) laws against the desires of the flesh, but the nature of the desires of the Spirit precludes them from laws against them. Why is love always kind? Why must love be kind? Does the law and its just threats have anything at all to do with why love is kind? None at all! Love is kind just because it is the nature of love to be kind! True love does not need law in any sense. However, sinners need law to keep them from abusing love and turning it into lust. If we could desire, feel, and practice love as Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 13, we could indeed "do as we please." Since that is impossible because of indwelling sin, we need clear objective standards describing love for us. We can know that love is the right thing to do, but we do not always know what is the loving thing to do. The Holy Spirit informs us through the Scripture, transforming us thereby so that we become more like Jesus, who always loved God with all his being and his neighbor as himself.

--John Reisinger, Studies in Galatians, p. 430

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