Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Law of Love: Love God

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

“Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” That’s a good question. Is there one commandment we must obey above all else? Jesus said yes and gave the answer above.

What does it mean to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Some will try to break it down into what each part signifies, but it boils down to this: Love God with everything you are and do. Love him with your thoughts, your emotions, your actions, and your intentions. Give him all of you; hold nothing back.

All you have to do is make every waking moment about him. Love him with your feelings and with your choices. As you go through the day, do what you do with a desire to honor him. Always choose to obey. Always choose what represents him well.

It’s incredibly simple. And incredibly difficult. None of us can do this consistently.

Martin Luther, the great reformer, realized that if this is the greatest commandment, then the greatest sin is to fail to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. So we all commit the greatest sin countless times every single day we’re alive.

A holy and just God cannot wink at our sin. To do so would be to compromise his own holiness. This knowledge nearly led Luther to despair. Fortunately for us, it ultimately led him to the scriptures which led him to the cross.

We cannot love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. But Jesus did. And then he paid for our failure in his own blood. Now “righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom 3:22). God’s grace covers our sins.

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid” (Rom 6:1-2)! We cannot look at this as permission to fail in our duty to love God. It should be impetus to work harder. The God who created the universe created you knowing that he would have to rescue you from your failure to obey him, and he created you anyway. How should we respond to that kind of love?

In Christ, God not only forgives our failures, but he empowers our obedience. His indwelling Spirit will work with and through us to make us more like Jesus. “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed ... continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Phil 2:12-13).

Part of Christianity 102

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