By Mike Chaffin
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
Do you love me? Will you love me forever? I hope so because we are commanded to do so.
Jesus gave a new command shortly before his trial and crucifixion. It doesn’t seem like loving one another would be ‘new’, however, Jesus adds a kicker to the command. We are to love others as He did. This is not romantic love, but fellowship love and there are no exceptions.
God’s only gives a few commands in the Bible. The first is in the garden of Eden. He commands Adam and Eve to not eat of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They failed and mankind fell. Strike one.
Then God gave the Ten Commandments. They are still to be followed to this day. However, Both Israel and Judah failed to follow them, and they fell. Strike two.
Seems like God’s commands aren’t optional if we are to continue in His good graces.
Everyone who accepts Christ as Savior is under the command to love everybody. Sounds easy, but how are you doing on loving your noisy neighbor when their music is blaring at 2 am? If you’re like me, it is a difficult command to keep.
Loving others is how we are graded by our fellow man and by Jesus. Lack of love shows a lack of compassion, and a lack of desire to follow Jesus’ command. He shows us in the parable of the goats and the sheep that loving others is not an option.
In Revelation, He tells the church;
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. Revelation 2:4-5
Here Jesus refers to our love for Christ and for one another. If we lose that love and our worship is reduced to going through the motions instead of in the joy of the Lord, we are warned to repent and regain that first love. Don’t let that be strike three.
In fact, Jesus tells us that just before strike three,
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. Matthew 24:12-13
Jesus goes on to say later in Matthew 24 that for the sake of the elect the days will be shortened. In other words, before everyone’s love goes cold, and all are lost, He will return.
Note that loving others doesn’t mean accepting a sinful lifestyle or a false teaching. Loving others doesn’t necessarily mean you like them or agree with them. Jesus didn’t like much about the Pharisees of His day, but He died for them just as He did for everyone who will believe. We are to be holy as God is holy. Sharing God’s love and praying for those who don’t believe is commanded of us.
Prayer: Lord I love you and thank you that through the Holy Spirit I can love others as I love you. Without your help I know I will fail. Please fill me with love that overflows to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.
* There is a website that conducted a search for Bible verses. They compiled a list of the verses in order of the magnitude of hits they got in their search. Some of these verses probably qualify as ‘people’s favorites’, while others might be on the list because they are some of the most important and most teachable words of God.