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An Impossible Command and the Power to Obey

January 2, 2017

All of a Christian’s responsibility to others can be summed up in a single statement. A Christian selflessly loves others by the power of the God the Spirit in him. A lot of room remains for many specific applications but all Christian relationships should be compromised of Holy Spirit empowered, selfless love for others.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” is the second of the chief commandments. The book of James calls it the “royal law”. Romans 13 and Galatians 5 declare that selfless love fulfills all the law of God.

The command “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is first found in Leviticus 19:18. AFter giving a list of speciifc instructions about how to treat others, God concludes and summarizes with the prince of commandments.

A genuine love for others will result in doing the things contained in the law. You will not covet your neighbors goods because you love him and desire his good. You will not lie about another because you love him and will only speak that which is good for him. All the principles contained in the law will be obeyed. Not because you have memorized the law but because you are operating from the great principle from which all the rest are derived. If you love others like you love yourself you will do to them as you would like done unto you.

This love is not mere emotion and sentiment. The Biblical command is not an instruction to have good feelings about someone from a distance. Love does not pray for the person while ignoring them and their needs. Love is not just glad the person attends church. Love involves itself personally with others. Love serves.

The Christian has been given liberty in Christ that sets him free from the bondage of sin, idolatry and self-righteousness. The Christian is freed by Jesus to go out and serve others.

Most of humanity measures greatness based upon how many underlings a person has. A great man is surrounded by an army of lackeys who do all the trivial little things for him. The greatest people in the world’s eyes are those who are served the most. Not so with those who are Christ’s. Jesus says those who will be greatest in His kingdom are those who serve the most.

The command is, “By love serve one another.” Seek to do good for each other. Seek to minister truth to one another. Minister encouragement, grace, time, comfort, help, hospitality, goods and prayer to one another. Give freely of yourself so that others may receive genuine good from you.

The power to love this way is not natural to any person. This kind of love is impossible. Those in Christ have all ability to love others as God has commanded. Such ability is only the result of the supernatural working of God. The Christian can love sacrificially because God has given His Holy Spirit.

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