love-family-heart-parent-eternal-love-mother

What God Requires

The reason we were created and what we are called to be is summed up in one word: love. The central defining truth of those who follow Jesus is that in Christ God ascribed unsurpassable worth to us, and thus the central defining mark of those who live in love is that they ascribe the same unconditional worth to themselves and all others.

This is what God requires. John put it this way, “This is the message you have heard from the beginning that we should love one another” (1 John 3:11). This is the message! John spoke as if there was no other message.

So too, Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). He spoke as though there was no other command because, as a matter of fact, there really isn’t any other command. Every other commandment and every other message is contained in this one.

Hence, after giving us the two inseparable “greatest” commands to love God and our neighbor as ourselves, Jesus added “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt 22:40). Everything in the OT hangs on and is summed up in these two.

Paul said, “The whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Gal 5:14).

The point of all such teachings is that if we truly abide in Christ and love God, ourselves, and our neighbors as ourselves, we will fulfill everything God requires of us. It is virtually impossible to obey this commandment consistently and not fulfill the entire law. This is why Scripture consistently emphasizes that the singular aim of the disciple must be to love.

Paul said, “Above all, clothe yourself with love” (Col 3:14). Christ-like love is something we are commanded to wear. It should envelop us at all times. This command is placed “above all.” Peter agreed when he wrote, “Above all, maintain constant love for one another” (1 Peter 4:8).

There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, that should ever displace the command to love as the first and foremost concern of the disciple—no doctrine, no ethical principle, no personal agenda, and no exceptions.

If our thought word, or deed doesn’t result in ascribing unsurpassable worth to the persons we encounter, it shouldn’t be thought, voiced, or acted on. It’s that simple: love alone must govern each and every encounter in our lives.

—Adapted from Repenting of Religion, pages 48-53

Photo via Visual hunt

Category:
Tags: ,
Topics:

Related Reading

The “Heresy” of Failing to Love

In what is hands-down the most amazing prayer ever recorded, Jesus prayed to his Father that his disciples “may be one…just as you are in me and I am in you” so that “the world may believe that you sent me” (Jn.17:21). In other words, Jesus was praying that we who profess Christ as Lord…

Tags:

Spiritual Warfare: What is it?

The Kingdom is “not of this world,” and neither is its warfare. Jews had always believed that God confronted spiritual opposition in carrying out his will on earth. In the Old Testament, these evil forces were usually depicted as cosmic monsters and hostile waters that threatened the earth. For a variety of reasons this belief…

Love That Keeps On Giving

In English, we have one word for love. In ancient Greek, there were four different words that we can translate as “love.” And each has a different meaning. Let’s consider each briefly. Storge—referred to a person’s affection for something. When we say we love our car or a person’s smile or another’s ability to sing,…

Was Jesus Unloving Towards the Pharisees?

Some claim that Jesus spoke to religious leaders in ways that did not reflect the love of the cross. In his climatic encounter with the Pharisees in Matthew 23, Jesus’ words were undeniably harsh. He calls the Pharisees “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “blind fools,” “snakes” and “a brood of vipers” (Mt 23:13, 15, 16,17, 19, 23,…

Who You Are Reflects the Kind of God You Worship

We always reflect the mental picture of God that we envision, for better or worse. If you have a fear-based picture of God, it will even affect the structure of your brain. You become the kind of person that you worship. If you have a threatening picture of God, you become threatening. If you have a…

The Cruciform Center Part 2: How John’s Gospel Reveals a Cruciform God

In the previous post, we looked at how the Synoptics illustrate the centrality of the cross. While the Gospel of John varies in its structure and language from the Synoptics, the cross remains at the center. This centrality is expressed in a number of different ways. 1. The role that Jesus’ death plays in glorifying…