This is the 13th 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.
Love is a repeated theme for Paul.
While we have seen previously in this series that love fulfills the law and that God’s love is poured into us by the Holy Spirit, let’s look at how Paul describes that love. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul writes:
 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
First, let’s note that in accordance with love being something poured into us by the Holy Spirit, that love is not something that would be described by Paul as “practical benevolence. In fact, he cautions, “If I give away all I have … but have not love, I gain nothing.” Love is not the result of our actions; rather it is a God-given, Spirit-provided quality that impels actions in the believer.
It is that same Spirit-provided love that forms the outworking of the New Covenant ethic.
Paul writes to the Thessalonians, “ Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another. …” (1 Thess 4:9)
Paul thanks God for the Colossians’ “faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,  because of the hope laid up for you in heaven” (Colossians 1:4–5), echoing the faith … hope … love pattern of 1 Corinthians 13, Romans 5, Galatians 5,Ephesians 4, and 1 Thessalonians 1 and 5.
In his beautiful discourse on the ministry of reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul tells us in verse 11 that “the love of Christ controls us.”
And in his prayer for spiritual strength in Ephesians 3, it cannot be more plain that that a living faith draws its basis from love:
 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,  that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:14–21)
Love is not the result of our obedience to the law.
Love is not produced by works of the law.
Our love of Christ – whether that phrase means to have the love He has, or to have love for Him, or both – is what fulfills the law eschatologically, and therefore that love is essential to the not yet that we seek in the now as we strive to be holy in our lives.
Indeed it is that dual love of God and love of neighbor that comes from a circumcised heart that finds the roots of the New Covenant in the scrolls of the Decalogue.
Next: Completed by the Spirit Part 14: The Very Stuff of New Covenant Ethics