Watering the Tulips
September 10, 2014
“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he 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 bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” – Romans 13:8-10
Sometimes we get so caught up in knowing accurate theology (which is important) that we miss the practical application of truth. Understand this – if a pastor is teaching theology without applying it practically in the life of the membership, he is not fulfilling his role. It seems we live in a world of unbalanced preaching. Either a pastor only preaches doctrine or he only preaches practicality. Why do we think the two are not related? James says, “…be doers of the word, and not hearers only…” (James 1:22). Clearly, one must preach doctrine before he can apply it. Doctrine is foundational. However, without application, it’s empty.
Case in point – Romans is often viewed as a completely theological book. And certainly, the greater part of the first 11 chapters does contain much in the way of theology. However, in Romans 12:1, Paul was inspired to say, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service”. Did you catch the “therefore” in that? Paul is saying in light of all of the theology that has been laid out previously, we should live our lives daily for God. Theology should encourage godly living! In fact, theology properly preached does encourage godly living!!
What does any of this have to do with the text before us? Simply, Romans is often either preached weekly in a doctrinally minded church or avoided in a practically minded church. The book is viewed as having nothing to do with practicality. Our text verse proves that this is incorrect. Doctrine without love is useless doctrine. Paul elsewhere said, “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). Correct doctrine without love is useless. In fact, it could be said that it’s actually NOT correct doctrine without love!
Who are we required to love? All people! Those referred to as our neighbor here means all. We are to love the saints, our families, our spouses, and even our enemies! The life of a child of God should be driven by love for God and love for our fellow man. If a professing Christian is not driven by love, his salvation is questionable. Without doubt, his service is not pleasing to God. Hate plays no part in good doctrine.
Child of God let us seek to love! Let us share the Gospel out of love! Let all of our conversations be seasoned with love and mercy. Above all, let us remember that God loved us even when we were unlovable!
Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net . “Your App to the Gospel” can be downloaded at iTunes for iPhone, iPad and IPod Touch, Google Play for Android, the Windows Phone Marketplace, and the Windows Store for Windows 8/8.1 based tablets and computers. Please download it today!