2009-10-09 - God's Commandments
New Testament - In the day of Jesus and the age of grace
Jesus summed up all ten commandments in two rules. One to four can be restated as love god with your whole heart. Commandments four through ten can be summarized as love neighbor as thyself.
So who is a neighbor? This was important to the Jews because they inferred it was ok to hate anyone who wasn't their neighbor. Pharisees defined their neighbors as only other Pharisees. That allowed them to mistreat all that weren't up to their standards. Jews in general felt neighbors meant only other Jews. This was a broader group than the Pharisees but allowed them to hate and mistreat or simply not care about everyone who was not a Jew. But Christ said all mankind was our neighbors (Parable of the Good Samaritan - Luke 10:30-37).
It is here that Jesus gives a new commandment. He says we are to love one another as He loves us. Who is this one another? Well it is who He was talking to - his followers. Therefore one another in practical terms is Christians. Christians are to have a special love for one another that models the love Jesus had for us.
Notice now the commitment levels or how much you are to love people. To start off with we are to love ourselves. Then we are to love everyone as much as we love ourselves. Next on the scale we are to love fellow Christians as much as Jesus loves us. Just how much love is that? Well he gave his life for us so we must be willing to give to one another. When a brother or sister is hurting we are to help them until it hurts. Then at the top of the scale is our love for God. This love is to be with all of our being; it is to be as much love as we can conjure up. Now for the challenge - set your priorities according to these love levels. Your reward will be that you will stay on course. Why? Why are we to do it? Simple, God has called his children of both the old and new covenant to be a unique people that stand out from the rest of the world. We are to be in this world not of it.
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted