The Greatest Command

As a follower of Christ, we believe we are called to be holy – or “set apart”; different from the culture around us.

I wholeheartedly agree with this statement … I just think sometimes we place the emphasis on the wrong points of difference.

We believe there are certain “actions” or “activities” that Christians should or should not do. Certain “morals” we should stand up for or fight against. Certain times where we should take a stand against science and for “blind faith”. Certain “doctrines” that are worth arguing over and seeing people who believe something different than us as being “less than Christian”.

While these MAY all be important things (or not), I personally feel it is one massive exercise in missing the point!

In John 13:35, Jesus tells his disciples; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (emphasis mine).

The point of difference, the one thing that matters, the place where our “set-apart-ed-ness” is to be evident is our LOVE! And that love is to be “just as Jesus has loved us”.

That is one tall commandment … and why I think so many of our petty disagreements over things like those listed above are not important in the grand scheme of things. I’d rather argue over which one of us can show more love to one another; who can love more like Christ, who proved his love by laying down his own life for ours …

———-

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth …

 

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes …

 

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another …

 

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death …

 

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth …

 

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us …

 

God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him …

 

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

(from 1 John)

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