The Law of Love
We’ve been talking about what it means to be born again. The Old Testament version of John 3 is Ezekiel 36:26-27. “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” Notice what God explicitly says are the results of the new birth. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” God’s statutes and ordinances are his laws. God causes men and women to follow His laws by causing them to be born again (1 Peter 1:3, NASB).
We see something similar in Jeremiah 31:31 and 33 and the promise of the New Covenant. “‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah… [T]his is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'” God displays Himself to be the God of His people by writing His law upon their hearts. This means the law of God takes priority in the lives of born again people. Observance of God’s moral law, summarized in the Ten Commandments, marks the lives of born again people.
Let me put it another way. Romans 5:5 says, “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Paul later speaks of love in terms of God’s law. “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself'” (Romans 13:8-9).
If you honor your parents, you show them love. If you preserve the lives of others and work for their welfare, you demonstrate love. If you are faithful in your marriage, you display love to your spouse. If you reverence your property and the property of others, you manifest love. If you tell the truth to family members and work associates, you exhibit love. If you do not covet or lust after other people or things you express love to your neighbors. If you sum up the Ten Commandments, if you add them up, you have love.
If you do not have the power and purpose to live this loving life, to follow God’s commandments, you are not born again. On the other hand, if you have an overpowering desire to faithfully observe God’s law and you follow through, this is evidence you are indeed born of God. God’s intention is to tie the two together, the new birth and His laws, in your life. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” This is part and parcel with the absolute necessity of sanctification and holiness. “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification [holines] without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).