Welcome back to unpacking O Holy Night part 3!
Verse 2 is less recognizable than Verse 3, so I’d like to skip to verse 3.

[Verse 3, Part 1]
Truly he taught us to love one another;
his law is love and his gospel is peace.

Truly he taught us to love one another;
Hymn composer Adams moves from the night of Christ’s birth to the work of Christ’s life. Truly, Jesus’ message was love. He taught us first, love God and second, love thy neighbor. Could it be that simple?

His law is love and his gospel is peace.
Before Jesus, “the law” harks back to the Old Testament. There were hundreds of commands given to the Israelites, but the phrase “the law” refers specifically to the first five books of the bible referred to as the Torah. Obedience to this law was the obligation of God’s people! In order to restore broken relationships, sacrifices were required and penalties were prescribed. In order to find acceptance with God this was necessary. Yet, all these sacrifices were inadequate. God is so holy and just, that sin cannot be brushed aside. The bible presents sin as so horrendous that it merits death.

In Christ, God will at last find a sacrifice that is full and complete and totally sufficient! The penalty of “the law” was paid. Jesus’ law is LOVE. Those previous sacrifices are no longer needed. God’s love gave us Jesus, and Jesus’ love was the giving of his life! God’s love fulfills the law.

Do you find yourself holding on to the letter of the law, or abiding in grace? How well do you love one another?

Check back tomorrow for another installment of O Holy Night!