We often hear the word “love” employed to try to get away from God’s laws. For example, when we see someone in sin, the temptation is to leave them alone for the sake of love. Or some have said that they don’t need to know the law of Christ, because all they need to know is the greatest commandment: to love God and love neighbor.
But this is faulty, postmodern thinking. You cannot separate love and law. This we see clearly in 1 John:
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. – 1 John 5:2-3
John writes, By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. Loving God and obeying His commandments are inseparable. Jesus says that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. The same is true for the Father. If we love Him, we will obey His commandments. We express our love to Him by obeying His commandments.
John explains this when he says, For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. We know that we love God if we keep His commandments. Furthermore, His commandments are not burdensome. While His commandments are sometimes hard to follow because of our flesh, yet they are not burdensome. On the contrary, they are delightful. If only we would observe His commandments faithfully, we would not feel the burden of sin on our shoulders.
So, if we love Him and obey His commandments, we love the children of God. It necessarily follows. Why? God has outlined for us in His law what it means to love your brother and neighbor.
Thus, to the person who says that all they need to know is the greatest commandment, they are mistaken. For we cannot know how to love God and love neighbor without the full counsel of the word of God. We must know His commandments in order to keep them, and we must keep them in order to love others. Without the guidelines of the Bible, we may think we are loving on someone, only to be facilitating their destruction. This is serious business.
So, if we would truly love our brothers and sisters and neighbors, and if we would truly love God, we must hear the word and do it. May He help us to that end.
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