|“The commandments, “You shall not |
commit adultery,” “You shall not
murder,” “You shall not steal,”
“You shall not covet,” and whatever
other command there may be, are
summed up in this one command:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love does no harm to a neighbor.
Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
“I won’t ever become a Christian,” my friend said over dinner one night. “I do not want to subject myself to a bunch of rules and regulations. I want to live free!”
I was not at all surprised by my friend’s assertion. A lot of people view Christianity through a cloudy lens. They see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. They think that Christians have to follow a long list of prescribed behavior in order to live as “good Christians.”
The truth is that the greatest freedom we can experience in this life comes from faith in the life-transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ. His death on the cross has paid the penalty for our sins. We are free—truly free—in a way that we could never be without God’s mercy, grace, and unfailing love expressed to us through the death and resurrection of His precious Son, Jesus.
So, instead of a long list of rules and regulations, Christianity offers just two simple instructions for holy living: love God and love others!
Yes, it really is that simple. And, not only is it that simple, God has even given us the Holy Spirit to enable us to do these two things that we could never really do by ourselves.
Take note of these words the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Rome, as recorded in Romans 13:9-10:
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
In analyzing four of the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20, the Apostle Paul—who described himself as a “Pharisee of Pharisees” (Acts 23:6; Philippians 3:4-6)—focuses on the very same ideas that Jesus expressed in Mark 12:28-31:
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Throughout this new day, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to enable us to do these two things: love God and love others. If we do that, God will surely use our example to draw those He wishes to call to Himself. And, won’t that be a grand thing, indeed?