This is the 12th part of a series of posts adapted from a paper I presented at a New Covenant Theology think tank in upstate New York in July 2010.
If an external code is the antithesis of a life in the Spirit (as we noted in our previous installment), what is the expression of a life in the Spirit? Love. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).
That love, that love from God via the Holy Spirit given to dwell in us is, as Paul tells us, the fulfilling of the law:
 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. (Romans 13:8–10)
There are those, especially from the camp that Graeme Goldsworthy characterizes as “evangelical Judaism,” who will turn verse 10 on its head and say that Paul is telling us that the way we achieve love is through obedience to the law.
For example, Vincent Cheung writes, “The real biblical definition of love, that is, the love that the Bible commands us to have, is defined by obedience to the law in all of our relationships (Romans 13:9–10) – and this includes the commands that it makes to both the mind and the body.” Furthermore, Cheung makes the audacious statement that God’s love is demonstrated by “practical benevolence” and that the love of the Christian should be one of “accurate obedience.” “In other words,” Cheung oddly asserts, “you walk in love by obeying all these commandments.”
That sort of legalism, Goldsworthy tells us, has at its base “an assertion of our control over our relationship with God. It is a soft-pedaling of the greatness of God’s grace to sinners. On the surface it may appear to be an exalting of the law, however the law is understood. Yet when we understand the nature of legalism, we find that the opposite is true.”
If we are to be like Christ – if we indeed are to have the love poured out by Him, and if as Paul promises we will be rid of sin – then to suggest that love is obtained by following an external code, rather than it being something intrinsic to our ontological state, is absurd.
 Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 171.
 Vincent Cheung, The Sermon on the Mount (Boston: self-published, 2004), 159. In an over-the-top style, Cheung also criticizes D. A. Carson in this section, writing that Carson’s statement that love requires more than actions (cf. 1 Cor 13:3) is “a surprisingly amateurish inference. …”
 Ibid., 160–1. Cheung also advocates hating non-believers as God hated Esau.
 Ibid., 90. Cheung makes the statement: “Immediately after my conversion, I stopped lying altogether.” This contradiction of 1 John 1:10ff necessarily brings the author’s veracity into question.
 Goldsworthy, 171.