Love Your Neighbor

“How we use our money demonstrates the reality of our love for God.” (Charles Ryrie, Balancing the Christian Life)

Money

It seems that the discussion of the believer’s obligations to civil authorities and paying taxes may have triggered Paul’s thinking concerning believer’s debts to others. The phrase “owe no man anything” (13:8) is debated in Christian circles as to whether it means we should never go financially into debt or not. J. Hudson Taylor, the godly missionary to China, would never go into debt, basing his conviction on this verse. Charles Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher, had the same conviction. Bill Gothard, of the Institute of Basic Youth Conflicts, holds a similar view.

It may be argued that this verse itself does not specifically refer to the borrowing of money. But the consequences of going into debt are spelled out in other Scripture. For instance, in Proverbs 22:7 it says, “The borrower is servant to the lender” which places the borrower under bondage to the lender. We can also see the serious problem this has created for our government today. Even many churches have borrowed money on the assumption that future conditions will allow them to pay it back, and today they are either bankrupt or pay out so much for interest that they have very little for missions (Proverbs 27:1).

The one debt that a man must pay every day, and yet at the same time, must go on owing every day, is the debt of love to each other. The debt of love remains with us permanently and never leaves us. It is a debt that we need to discharge every day, and forever owe. Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of it hope; it can outlast anything. It is the one thing that will still stand when all else has fallen. The underlying principle of the Jewish economy was law. The underlying principle of the Christian economy is love.

  1. Love’s Debt (v. 8)
  2. Love’s Duty (v. 9)
  3. Love’s Desire (v. 10)

Application

It is possible for me to borrow money and go into debt for things that God does not want me to have? When I borrow money it can move me out from under God’s hand of protection. In His mercy and wisdom I must limit my spending for things I cannot afford to buy.

Romans 13:8-10 (English Standard Version)

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.

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