Word created. The spoken thought of God organized matter and held it together in a system of complex relationships that were, well, perfect. Even God said it was “very good.”

We use words to describe this like Holy, Perfect and Law. Law? I think we misunderstand a significant part of God’s story when we limit Law to only being about a boundary that contains us or prohibits us. Rather think of Law as the condition where God’s Word is freely working to the fullest of its intention, like gravity. Begin to understand Law as another word for the perfect holiness of God’s creation unencumbered by sin. Now hear what Paul writes in Romans 13:8.

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

When we hear a verse like this we may easily mistake Paul’s intention and assume that the result of our love for neighbor somehow restores us to God. This reflects our misunderstanding of Law. We can never restore ourselves by attempting to keep the law. Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf does that and creates the opportunity for all of humankind to return to God in His community where Law is the joyful condition of God’s word at work.

Paul’s encouragement for the community of believers in Rome defines the harmony of mutual submission. Debt is a transaction word. It signifies a relationship as out of balance. Law requires balance. “Very good” is the result of homeostasis.

But love is not transactional. Love is gift. It neither wants nor expects anything in return. It just gives and thus fulfills or makes complete the intention of God’s Word. The community of church is the new creation where love is the work of God’s Word healing, comforting and restoring God’s people into the harmony of holiness.

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