The New Law of Love

"I have not come to abolish but to fulfill" (Matt 5:17).

In his letters to the community at Corinth, St. Paul describes the transition from the old Law of conformity to the rules to the new law of grace, which enables us to be good because it is our nature perfected in Christ. If Lawgiver Moses' face was so brilliant that the people could not look directly at him, how much brighter is the face of love that frees us from fear to live in the freedom of the children of God? The first law was written on tablets of stone, the new law is written on our hearts. 

Paul's preaching sought to create a bridge from the old to the new. Continuity between the first covenant under the law and the new covenant of grace was essential if Paul's Jewish brothers and sisters were to make the transition to Christ. 
Matthew's Gospel seeks the same continuity: Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. The commandments given by Moses were meant to hold the people in right relationship -- with God and with one another. But obeying them by not killing, not stealing, not lying, not coveting was ony the beginning. To enter fully into relationship with God and within the community is to be filled with the spirit of Love, God's own life. 

The journey from old to new is the work of grace as it meets our freedom. Discipleship is a day to day choice to go with the flow of grace and the guidance of the Spirit. Those who surrender to this movement experience a kind of leap in quality in the ordinary tasks and interactions of life.  Patience begets patience, generosity inspires imitation, cheerfulness lifts everyone up. Encouragement works better than correction or criticism. Openness engenders trust and cooperation.  This is the Spirit at work in us, and the results are obvious over time.