The Simple Commandments

            The late Paul Harvey had resumed his newscasts after suffering pneumonia and the death of his wife.  One day he responded on the air to a listener who asked what Scripture verse helped him get through recent adversities.  He said once he got past John 3:16, the latter half of his life has been guided by John 14:15.  He left his listeners to look it up.  John 14:15 is the words of Jesus who said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

            What are those commandments?  Are there many?  There are only two, but they comprise the challenge of our entire Christian walk.  They’re spelled out simply in 1 John 3:23: “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.”  As I reread 1 John, I couldn’t help noticing his whole epistle centers around those two commandments.  He packed the thrust of Jesus’ teachings into his brief letter.  Notice those teachings in Mark 12:28-31: “And one of the scribes… asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

            Believing on the name of His Son and loving the Lord as Jesus said are tied together.  Trusting Christ for salvation is just the beginning of our Christian walk.  Then there’s the challenge to love our neighbor as ourselves.  John says Jesus said to love one another.  He’s speaking of other believers in Christ.  Can any of us love anyone else as much as we love ourselves?  We can’t do it without empowerment from His Spirit.

            Be sure you believe in the One True Lord according to 1 John 4:1-6.  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”

            As for loving both God and believers, 1 John 4:19-21 says: “We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”

If we love God and other believers, 1 John 2:15-17 makes much sense.  “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Life, Helping Others, Thoughts from John

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