The Great Commandment
I concluded my last blog with a quote from John’s first Epistle (1 John 5:1-3), we will now consider some more of what John wrote in his letter, particularly with regard to our topic “The Command to Love”. There is often arguments raised with regard to law versus grace, and in this matter there seems to be tension. If we purely try to love because we are commanded is there grace to actually love as Christ commanded? The passages in John 14:15, 21 & 23 state if we love Him (Jesus) we will obey Him. Obedience should be birthed from our love of Christ. It is an act of humility, submission and honour, recognizing Him as omniscient God. The scripture is clear that grace is given to the humble, and grace is the power of God to do what we cannot do.
John informs us that, “We know that we have come to know Him (Jesus) if we obey His commands” (1 John 2:3). John has some very strong things to say concerning obedience and love. He says that if we say we know Him but do not obey His commands we are liars (1 John 2:4). In the next chapter John states, “We know we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him” (v14-15).
The whole letter needs to be read with much contemplation, for John has much to say about love and the consequences of loving and not loving. Think about this, “We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:19-21).
It is clear from John’s writings that loving God, loving one another, obedience and eternal life are all inextricably connected. To do the will of God and live a life that represents our Lord appropriately we need to be empowered by God. God is very much aware of our needs and has made provision for us and promised that He would not leave us alone. He gave the Holy Spirit, and the scripture bears witness to the result of the coming of the Spirit.
We all need to be filled with the love of God to do the will of God.