Monday, September 29, 2014

The Greatest Commandment was said by Christ to Moses!

 This lawyer knew the law! I always believed that Jesus was the first to state The Greatest Commandment and the "one like unto it": Love God and love others. However, these have always been the Greatest Commandment and its corollary! A corollary is "something that naturally follows" (Meriam-Webster Dictionary).
Luke 10:25 "And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself."
It is questioned by Jesus to the lawyer? "What is written in the law?"  The lawyer's answer was one idea, but two laws: The commandment is "thou shalt love the Lord thy God" and the corollary (something that naturally follows) is "love thy neighbor". Hence, it's one law because if a person loves God then it's natural that the person must love others. Why? That's what God wants! His Ten Commandments are the statement to love God (Commandment 1-3) and "something naturally follows"; loving others (Commandment 4-10).

What amazed me about Jesus' answer to the lawyer, is that The Greatest Commandment always was! It was hidden, so to speak, in two different places in The Old Testament, but the lawyer put the two together! That was no accident! Jesus was making a point, but he had the lawyer made it for him!

I didn't recognize Old Testament commands acknowledging The Greatest Commandment! Did you? The lawyer was referring to these tow verses:
Deuteronomy 6:5 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." (Commandment 1-3)
Leviticus 19:18  "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." (Commandment 4-7).
 Jesus made a profound statement:
Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
Jesus never ever contradicted The Law! There is nothing wrong with the law. What was and is still wrong is that people attempt to obey The Law, but it is done without love!  Although "love" was always The Law, love was confounded by following the letter of it. There is a difference in attitude:
Romans 3:31 (ESV) "Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law."
Grace doesn't mean that we Christians don't have to OBEY the law, but that because of love blossoming from grace, the Christian DESIRES to keep The Law. As good citizens in the kingdom of God we pledge our allegiance to our glorious King. That allegiance is our love and we show our allegiance and love by keeping God's Commandments!
John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
This is in agreement with Christ's statement that he came "to fulfil" The Law. Although God always loved us; always did and always will, he did something which was extreme! He died for us so that we are without excuse. That's The Law of Grace. That's the fulfilling of The Law. By not "overthrowing" that law, we are still to follow it, but with a new heart. It's a thankful and loving heart!

I have shown where there is but one law. That "law" is the Law of Love. It's not two laws, but one because if we love God it follows that we love others. That's reinforced by John 15:15. By following God's commandments is how we demonstrate our love of God. Those commandments boil down to one: Love God and demonstrate it by loving others; even your enemies!
Matthew 5:43 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you..."
"Loving enemies" is the hard part! It's sometimes hard to love those who love you, but we are commanded to love even those who despise us. I come up short and so do you, but that's where we need to pray for ourselves. Not loving others is pride. World's collide and we all endeavor to protect our own little world. What are we to do? Cut our enemies a little slack! Use the "fruits of the spirit": We are to have charity for them among others. We are to use The Golden Rule:
Luke 6:31 "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."
That's being empathetic with them. Not tolerating their sin, but understanding that we too are sinners, just as they are. We may be saved, but that's "God's gift of grace" and we need to be thankful for his grace, not proud in it. As a consequence of our having received grace, the Christian's loving desire for "the enemy" is that they share what we have received! That's how we are to "love our enemies"! We endeavor to see that they have eternal life. That's not done by ridiculing nor cursing, but loving them!

"God's Law of Love" (aka The Greatest Commandment) has always been one law and always will be! When God said "don't eat of that other tree", he was merely stating The First Commandment in different words:
Exodus 20:3  "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
"How is that The Greatest Commandment?" you may ask. God was commanding that his children love only him! No, it doesn't mean that we don't love others, but that we have only one God and we are to love him!  Adam's sin was not in eating of the fruit, but standing there in the presence of the serpent instead of with God eating the fruit of his tree "The Tree of Life". Adam failed to love God and put Satan before God.

"Loving God" has always been the one and only commandment and all others are how we are to love God! When we break one of any of  The Ten Commandments it's as if we've broken them all, but what's worse, by not obeying those commandments we're not loving God. By breaking even one commandment a person short changes "loving God"!

Some would totally ignore works. "Works" are things we do, not to earn salvation, which we can't, but to demonstrate our love. We can't work our way unto salvation by doing "good", but works are the assurance that a person indeed is a Christian. "Faith without works is dead!", according to James. By not showing "works" (obeying the commandments) we are at odds with John 14:15 where we're told to "keep my commandments" to show that we love him!

The theology in opposition to "works" is called Calvinism. Ignoring remorse, repentance, belief, and faith; Calvinists contend that to be saved all a person has to do is "to be"  Under what I consider to be "positive Christianity", to be a Christian, all we have to have is life. But the "negative Christianity" associated with that is that "to be damned" all we have to do is "to be". God chooses us and we play no part in it! Calvinism is deterministic and to most fatalistic! My theology (Christ's really) offers hope. Calvinism only offers the hope that the person is lucky enough to win the "divine lottery" which was held before the world was even created!
Mark 5:17a says "Think not that I am come to destroy the law..."
Jesus didn't come to rid the world of God's Law, but to bring love into fruition! Calvinism destroys God's Law.  Oh, we are to still love God, but Calvinism removed the tools to show our love for God. Obeying the Commandments, in their theology, is a weight to which Christians should not be burdened. For me and for God, simply doing what he wills is not a burden. It's how we love him!

Never take God's Laws lightly. He wrote them on stone so that we know what we are to do to please him. If we don't do these things we have "blame" because that's what the laws are for; so that we are without excuse! The key is "Without excuse for failing to do what"? We are without excuse for failing to demonstrate our love of God! Admittedly, if we obey the law rather than loving God, and by implication others, we are not truly loving God, but in effect making an idol of ourselves. Obeying commandments without loving God is disobeying by breaking the First Commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

The unsaved person who try to be "good" can't because only God is good! That person has placed himself "before God". Whereas, God commands that we love him, the "do-gooder" becomes the High Priest and assumes a role not ordained for him. Just as King Saul assumed an improper religious role, so does the "do-gooder". The focus (aka worship) is on the Self, not on God!

Become a servant to God first. Love Jesus and then obey the Commandments. You don't have any obligation to clean up your act first... come as you are. Those who are forgiven the most will love him the most:
Luke 7:47 "Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little."

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