Romans 13:8–10 – Love Fulfills the Law


Romans 13:8-10


Christians are to genuinely love one another. In doing so, they fulfill the Law.


Romans 13:8–10 comes as part of Paul’s practical exhortations to the Roman Christians to live in accordance with the new life they have been given in Christ. Central to this life is love because God’s own love (agapē) is the very foundation of Christian existence and community. This is a love that seeks the well-being of others—even at one’s own expense—as demonstrated most profoundly in God’s gift of Christ, who gave his life on behalf of sinners (Romans 5:8).

Although this selfless love cannot, properly speaking, be coerced as a debt owed to another, the language of Romans 13:8 serves to connect Paul’s exhortation to love with his preceding command to give what is owed to the appropriate parties as part of a faithful Christian witness in society. Consistent with Jesus’ teaching, Paul claims in Romans 13:8–10 that the commandments of the Law are summed up in the command to love one’s neighbor as oneself (Romans 3:9; cf. Matthew 22:34–40; Leviticus 19:18; Galatians 5:14). Therefore, the one who truly loves fulfills what the Law, as revelation of God’s will, always intended. Paul has clearly stated in the letter that no one can live this way on their own, but because of the death and resurrection of Christ, the Holy Spirit has poured God’s love into the hearts of believers (Romans 5:5), empowering them to live out of this same love.