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Page 380


 

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

- Romans 13:8-10

If ye love Me, keep My commandments.

He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.

- John 14:15,21

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

- I John 4:16

 

    Imagine a person being stranded upon an uninhabited island. For months he has no contact or communication with any other person. Opportunities for both caring for and sinning against others have been diminished, but the first and great commandment remains ever present - to love God above all.

    Can there be any time or circumstance in a person's life in which the first and great commandment does not apply? Why not?


The second summarized commandment flows from the first. Those who love God will love man, who is created as an image bearer of God (in its wider sense); and who can be restored in God's image (in its narrower sense). Love toward others reflects a heart of love toward God. To love God and not love one's neighbor is impossible. "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" (I John 4:20-21).

True obedience to God's law must flow from a loving desire of the heart, a desire to please God. Outward obedience motivated by a sense of fear for punishment, obligation for duty, or opportunity for self-improvement, misses the spirit of true obedience. The Apostle John states this clearly, "For this is the love of God, that! we keep His commandments: and His commandments are no grievous" (I John 5:3).


    A ship returning from the tropics carried a large number of caged tropical birds. Each bird received tender care to secure its health. Near the midpoint of the trip, a restless bird managed to escape and flew off. In a short time it was out of sight enjoying its escape from its felt "confinement" and enjoying its "liberty."

    But several hours later, an exhausted bird struggling with heavy wings approached the ship. Breathless, it landed on the deck. It had returned looking for the ship over miles of endless ocean. The ship now appeared as a "home" and not a "prison."


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