Love Does No Harm…

Romans 13:9-10 (NIV)

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.

When we look at the commandment to love, we need look no further than the Ten Commandments themselves. The first four commandments address our love for God. The last six commandments address our love for others. Indeed, these commandments instill in us that our personal relationships are to be guided and governed according to the will of God! Father God has expressed His will in these commandments that were given through Moses and written on tablets of stone. Likewise, in the New Covenant given to us in Jesus, God has put them in our minds and written them on the tablets of our hearts. (Cf. Jeremiah 31:32-34)

I find it interesting that the Ten Commandments only address relationships … first and foremost our relationship with God; and secondly, our relationships with one another. I believe this stems from the truth that God is love; and love by nature and function is relational. Further, it appears that all other commandments, statutes, and ordinances we find in the Torah were written to provide more structured detail for the observance of these Ten Commandments.  So, in our Verse of the Day, Paul explains to us that love should supersede all other behaviors. Love will cause no harm to another person; therefore, love is the fulfillment of God’s covenant of love – engraved in these Ten Commandments.

Let’s look at the commandments as recorded in Exodus 20:1-17 in summary:

1.         You shall worship no other gods before God.

2.         You shall make no images or idols in place of God.

3.         You shall not misuse the name of God.

4.         You shall observe the Sabbath Day of God.

5.         Honor your father and mother.

6.         You must not murder.

7.         You must not commit adultery.

8.         You must not steal.

9.         You must not lie.

10.       You must not covet.

In addition, I think it is important for us to see how Jesus summarized and affirmed these commandments in His response to the Jewish authorities who had questioned Him on the matter:

Matthew 22:35-40 (NIV)

One of them, an expert in the law, tested Him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (Citing Deuteronomy 6:5) This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Citing Leviticus 19:18)All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The First Commandment is expressed through Commandments 1-4; while the Second Commandment is expressed through Commandments 5-10.  And ultimately, both the Apostle John and the Apostle Paul help us to understand that through obedience of the commandment “ to love your neighbor as yourself,” we necessarily fulfill both commandments! John asserted: “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” (Cf. 1 John 4:19-21) Likewise, our Verse of the Day captures this same theology. For both have expressed what Jesus taught: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (Cf. John 15:12; 17) So we see that a singular command … to love one another … a central theme for our worship of God Himself.  Love is how we fulfill the supreme Law of God! Indeed, when we love others in truth … we love God in truth! Yes, love is HOW we worship the Father in the Spirit and in Truth!

Father God, we thank you that you continue to humble us and to teach us the ultimate expression of what it means to worship you … LOVE. Holy Spirit, we ask for you to examine our hearts … to know our hearts and to test them. Reveal the thoughts and the inclinations of our hearts. Lord Jesus, thank you for your blood … the blood of the new and everlasting covenant that cleanses us and secures us in the way of love … the way that leads us to everlasting life in You! Oh, I pray that we might remain in your love; for you said that if we keep your commands, we would remain in your love. And your command is that we love each other as you have loved us! Oh, Lord Jesus, let the joy of your love be within us! Let us complete your joy as we serve one another and fulfill your command. Yes, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven! In the power of Your Great Name, I pray! Amen.

So Now You Know…

Have a Blessed Day!

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another. ~ Galatians 5:13-15