Friday, April 8, 2011

The Greatest Commandment

Love is the fulfilling of the law

“Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” Matt. 22:36-40.

An interesting word, hang. For instance, before the invention of the electric clothes dryer, one would hang damp clothes from a clothesline or perhaps across a porch banister. Another example is the grandfather clock. It employees a series of gears; attached to these is a mount which is called an anchor; to that is hung a pendulum which swings back and forth giving a ‘tic toc’ sound as it measures time in seconds, in minutes, in hours. In comparison we may say that the First, the Great Commandment has as such, eternal gears; it is the Anchor from which hangs the pendulum, the law and the prophets. The pendulum in and of itself cannot operate independently. Understand, the ten commandments, as the pendulum, will not, can not function apart from the gear mechanism and the Anchor of the Greatest Commandment.

It is noteworthy that we find in Deuteronomy chapter 5 beginning in verse 6: “I am the Lord thy God. . .Thou shalt have none other gods before me.” The same is to be found in Exodus chapter 20. These we know to be the Ten Commandments. We see in yet another place: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” Deuteronomy 6:5, while we discover “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” in Leviticus 19:18. Though these last two are not written as a part of the ‘Ten Commandments’ yet are they to be found as the Anchor from which the Ten are hung. (as spoken by Jesus in Matthew 22:40) The verses that follow in Deuteronomy 6 are not surrounded by a cluster of ‘thou shalt nots,’ but “These words. . .shall be in thine heart: Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children. . .and shalt talk of them when thou sitteth in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” My people, tell your children, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might!”

Continuing: “And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates” Deut. 6:9. Strange, the Ten Commandments may be found in our Capital and upon many government buildings; but where is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might?” America, wake up! For that matter, Church, wake up! Understand, the ten commandments, as the pendulum, will not, can not function apart from the gear mechanism and the Anchor of the Greatest Commandment. My dear Pendulum, If Christ is not your Head, your Anchor, then you are swinging aimlessly back and forth; your ‘work’ is futile and will accomplish nothing.

Men today follow the pattern of the Pharisees: Let us work our works to appease God; let us focus on the other commandments, perhaps adding our own for good measure. Their pendulum may grow in weight and in length but it is not functional; it is not hung upon the Anchor. “The First commandment is far too complex: we will bypass it, pay it little if any attention. Surely the good works of our hands will suffice!” “Well I suppose, “To love the Lord my God with all my heart” deserves honorable mention; but the emphasis is heavily upon My good works, My good deeds, upon My interpretation of good and evil, and right and wrong! After all, the Word of God endorses these does it not?” It might, but only if they were to be Anchored in the Great Commandment! “Seek ye first the kingdom of God;” seek ye first the King of the kingdom: love Him with all your heart, your soul, your strength, your mind.

The Greatest Sin

“If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom” Job 31:33. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” Psalm 119:9-11. But Adam did not heed the Word of God; he did not seek the Lord with his whole heart; he did not hide the Word in his heart that he might not sin against God. He wandered far from the commandment. Job gives us a little more insight: not only did Adam attempt to hide himself physically from God, but he would think to “cover his transgressions, by hiding them in his bosom.” “Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee, that thou shouldest not eat?” He immediately exposes the ‘iniquity hidden in Adam’s bosom.’ Adam’s partaking of the forbidden fruit revealed a deep underlying transgression: It seems that Adam did not love the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his strength, with all of his mind. Adam yielded to the temptation. In doing so, he “sinned and came short of the glory of God.”

Can you imagine Adam: “O Lord God, the fruit of this tree is good for food; it is pleasant to the eyes; a tree to be desired to make one wise. I pray therefore your richest blessing upon it as I partake of its refreshment. And, Oh! You are my Lord and my God and I love you with all my heart, all my soul and all my mind!” What strange bedfellows, love for God and disobedience to His statutes!

We understand that previously Adam was not a sinner; but shall we conclude him to be a righteous man? One who is righteous must be him who loves the Lord God with all his heart, his soul, his mind. Adam had not been tested, nor his righteousness proven. Though the breath of life had been breathed into him and he was a living soul, there is no mention that he was “filled with the Holy Ghost.” If this had been true, then Satan might have had no more influence upon him than he did on Jesus - which was none!

“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. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man loveth me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings” John 14:21,23,24a. What can we say? Adam did not keep the one commandment that God gave him. But the keeping of that command hinged or hung upon his loving the Lord God with all his heart, soul, and mind.

“for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

When did Adam die? He became a succumber and not an overcomer. To overcome is to live; to succumb is to die. Satan beguiled Eve but Adam was bitten by the serpent of his own lust. "when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" James 1:15 "And when the woman SAW. She saw what she wanted to see. She believed a lie, she lusted; in her lustful eyes the fruit appeared to be good for food, pleasant to the eyes, a tree to be desired. The Lord had told them that this was a tree to be shunned, avoided at all cost. When they tasted of the forbidden fruit, they may as well have eaten a deadly poison. When sin comes, death does not follow after a while; it is instantaneous; a spiritual death, separation from the Eternal God. Webster's dictionary says: succumb - to give way to superior force; to yield; to succumb to despair. to yield to disease, wounds, old age, etc; to die. To succumb to a superior force, the Lord God Almighty, is to live. To succumb to the wiles of the Wicked is to die. They did not die at the hand of God. Death was the result of their lust, their sin. The word suicide comes to mind. A fellow may jump off the Empire State Building, convinced that he will land on the pavement below without harm. He is “dead wrong!” To one who dies in his sin, certain judgment follows; it's called the second death. “God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it. . .lest ye die.” said Eve. “Ye shall not surely die.” said Satan, inferring that God was the liar. Adam ate, and he died. His sin was in that he doubted God's testimony; he wrongly perceived that God was not a God of His Word. He ate of the forbidden fruit because of the sin of unbelief! We die in Adam in unbelief; we are called unto Christ that we might live: we must believe! “Abraham believed God and it was counted (accounted, imputed) unto him for righteousness” Romans 4:3, Gal. 3:6, James 2:23.

Adam was at a crossroad. Was he a Believer? or an Unbeliever? The test would reveal it. If he believed God concerning the law of Sin and Death, he would not partake of the forbidden fruit. His faith, his belief would be counted, imputed unto him for righteousness. If he is found to be an Unbeliever it would be evident that he did not trust God to be true to His Word, therefore convincing himself that he need not fear in the partaking of the fruit. The sinner therefore, as a son of Adam, must repent, turn away from his unbelief and of his enmity against God: He must believe the testimony of God with regard to His Son: repentance toward God for his unbelief and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:21. The pattern to follow is found in Hebrews 11:13. It is that of faith, seeing, being persuaded of that which is seen by faith, and through faith, embracing, and confessing it.

What of Adam and Eve’s first born, Cain? “Oh Lord God, I brought unto you the works of my hands in disobedience and to your displeasure, and I am about to slay my brother whom I hate - but I acknowledge you as my God and my Lord and I love you with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind!” Not Really!

In the parable of the lost, or prodigal son, we find upon his homecoming, the elder brother in anger, refusing to come into the feast. ‘He may be your son, but he’s not my brother!’ “And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment. . .” I hate my brother and despise his presence here. . .but you’re my father, and I want you to know that I am committed to obey your every command! He did not realize that the keeping of any commandment, any so-called ‘service‘ must begin with the First, the Great Commandment. The ‘keeping’ of the other commandments while ignoring the First? - impossible! All the works in the world cannot balance the scale when they are void of an abiding love for God.

“And now O Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee?”

“Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” Deut. 6:4,5. “And now O Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul” Deut. 10:12. “And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commands which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in the corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full” Deut. 11:13-15. The love for God and a diligence unto His commands will bring forth a great harvest of fruit from the bounty of heaven and the hand of God! Is the Greatest Commandment to be confined to the Old Testament? The words of Jesus: “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” Mark 12:29,30.

The day of cleansing.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” I John 1:9.

The prophet Isaiah wrote in chapter 29 and verse 13: “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me.” “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” Isa. 6:5. If I am a man of unclean lips, is it not because I am a man with an unclean heart? I am undone; how shall I speak before the presence of the Lord seeing that I am a man of unclean lips? ‘Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged” Isa. 6:6,7. The Lord cleansed his lips, as with fire, that he might talk right. Isaiah confessed his sins, his uncleanness: the Lord was faithful and just to forgive him his sins, and to cleanse him from all unrighteousness!

Jesus rose from supper, took a basin of water and a towel and proceeded to wash the disciples’ feet. “Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Thou shalt never wash my feet.” “Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. . .He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean” John 13:6b,8,10. Jesus thus cleansing that disciple’s feet that he might walk right.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What shall I confess? Well, I would confess. . .but I am ashamed for Him to know. . .! He knows. Have you ever prayed this: Oh, my Father and my Lord! I woefully confess that I do not love you with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength, with all my mind! I John 1:9 had not yet been penned but David understood the principles: I have sinned against thee: have mercy, wash me, cleanse me, purge me, create in me a clean heart, restore me, deliver me. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” Psalm 51:17. How shall we expect our Lord to cleanse away that which we refuse to acknowledge? If I confess my sinfulness and my woeful lack of love for Him; if I ‘come clean,’ if I am honest before God, shall He not work a work of grace in my heart as He did with Isaiah and Simon Peter ? Who among us can keep the moral law? “Who is without sin among you?” This piercing question directed unto the Pharisees by our Lord must not be turned aside by any one of us. It is to our peril if we choose to ignore it.

Oh! What Love!

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. . .Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down” Mark 15:34,36b. “He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God” Matt. 27:43.

In contrast, the gospels of Luke and John do not mention, “My God. . .why hast thou forsaken me” but “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” and “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” Luke 23:34,46. “My God, my God; [not my Father, my Father,] why hast thou forsaken me? This is he who “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” Phil. 2:7,8. Obedient unto death! How on earth could Jesus be willingly obedient to the God of heaven? Is it not because Jesus fulfilled the Greatest Commandment!?! He loved the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, all his strength, all his mind! There are shadows of Christ and his sufferings to be found in the book of Job: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” Job 13:15. “God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked. I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark” Job 16:11,12. In Isaiah 53: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. . .It pleased the Lord to bruise him. . .” [Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.] In His darkest hour, Jesus, in our stead would have declared in full assurance, Though He forsake me, even at the darkness of this moment, I do love the Lord my God, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength, with all my mind! If this were not true, then Jesus did not fulfill the First, the Greatest commandment, and we are yet, lost in our sins. Some have asked, we know that Jesus did not sin - but could he have. . .? The answer is an emphatic NO! For Jesus to have been capable of sin would infer that he “fell short of the glory of God;” that he mournfully did not really love the Lord his God with all his heart, soul, might, strength, and mind. If this were true, we would be of men most miserable, for we would have no Saviour! Christ’s death would have been in vain; we would be eternally LOST!

Falling short

“There is none righteous, no not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. . .there is none that doeth good, no not one. . .For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God:” Rom. 3:10,11,12,23. There are some who would picture a man coming to a crevice, and in an attempt to leap to the other side, would a l m o s t make it but would ‘fall short’ of his goal. No! In light of scripture, the man, in his first step would plunge directly over the side and hit rock bottom! How much righteousness does the natural man have within himself? NONE! He is totally depraved and will in no wise come to God. (Read again Romans 3:10-12,23.) I have come short of the glory of God, being totally depraved. I had no heart at all to love God; rather was at enmity against Him. Did I love God, with all my heart, soul, strength, mind? No, a thousand times, no. But in my stead, the Lord Jesus, loved [loves] God, with all His heart, soul, might, strength, mind! His love for God the Father is imputed to my account. I stand reconciled, justified, not only through our Sovereign’s acceptance of the blood, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for my redemption, but further that His love is accepted in my stead, in my behalf by the eternally holy and just God. What of the Ten Commandments? If one can truly fulfill the Greatest Commandment, then none of the ten should possibly be broken! The scriptures say, Be filled with the Spirit. Shall we not assume that one who is filled with the Spirit will in turn, love the Lord his God with all his heart, his soul, his strength, his mind? Who among us can say, I am filled?

I love this humble confession and lowly prayer of that man of God, C. H. Spurgeon:

“No, Lord, if I am not condemned, it is Your free grace, for I have deserved to be condemned a thousand times since I sat down to write this. When I am on my knees and I am not condemned, I am sure it must be sovereign grace, for even when I am praying, I deserve to be condemned. Even when we are repenting, we are sinning, and adding to our sins while we are repenting of them. Every act we do as the result of the flesh is to sin again, and our best performances are so stained with sin that it is hard to know whether they are good works or bad works. So far as they are our own, they are bad; and so far as they are the works of the Spirit, they are good. But then, the goodness is not ours, it is the Spirit’s, and only the evil remains to us. Ah, then, we cannot boast! Be gone, pride! Be gone!

Charles H. Spurgeon, Faith, Whitaker House, publisher

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear, what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” I John 3:2. Be gone, old flesh! We shall be clothed in glorified bodies like unto our Lord! We shall be like him; made in the likeness of His Righteous; our hearts being as the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant: containing the unbroken law of God! We shall without reservation be able to say, “I love the Lord my God, with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind!” Hallelujah! But with Paul, add “Not I but Christ liveth in me.”

Oh! What Love!

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying. Yea, I have love thee with an everlasting love: therefore have I drawn thee” Jer. 31:3. The Lord our God is one Lord. We love Him because He first loved us. He drew us while we were yet sinners, vile, depraved sinners, unto Himself. Can you imagine - I, the Lord your God, your Creator, love you with all my heart, all my soul, all my might, all my strength, all my mind.” But it’s not imaginary, is it? Read it, many times over, in the Volume of the Book. But God is a Spirit. How it is He could love us with all of His heart, all of His soul, all of His mind? Who is sitting in heaven at the right hand of the Father? Is it not the God/Man, our Saviour, our Redeemer, the Lover of our soul? Dare anyone question that He loves us with all of His heart, soul, and mind? If we love the Lord; truly love Him, then we will trust Him. If we love Him and trust Him, we should follow Him in complete submission. To what degree do we trust the Lord? To what extent are we submissive to His leading? It is he who loves the Lord: he will trust Him, he will follow according to the love he has been given of the Father. “Lord Jesus, I do love you! Enlarge my capacity to love you more! Worth repeating: I woefully acknowledge that I do not love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength, all my might. I cannot, but I should. I am without excuse. But Jesus fulfilled the law; He loved(s) the Lord God in my stead. And the Father accepts Christ’s love in my stead. Is it not a sweet-smelling savour in His nostrils?

“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us. . .and hast loved them, as thou hast love me” John 17:21,23b.

The Second Greatest Commandment

Love is the fulfilling of the law

“Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two command-ments hang all the law and the prophets” Matt.22:36-40.

These words are spoken by our Lord, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Therefore, it did not seem fitting to address the One without the Other.

“Jesus said unto him. . .Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” Matt. 22:40. “Love thy neighbor as thyself” presupposes that one is already loving the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind. If the second is “like unto it,” then are we not to love him (our neighbor) “with all our heart, and all our soul, and with all our mind?” You’re thinking, Hey, that’s asking a lot!” Read on, my dear friend.

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Just how much did Adam love himself after eating that which was forbidden; hiding himself in fear from the Lord whom he had disobeyed? The scriptures proclaim: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever” Heb.13:8. “the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” James 1:17b. Who can say that about himself? How much do you love yourself? It depends on what side of the bed you woke up on; how the day goes; the circumstances, upon what problems and temptations that confront you: a thousand and one other things can alter how much you ‘love yourself’ at any given time - right? If your love for your neighbor be measured out according to this standard, he should beware: he may get punched in the nose!

“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?” I John 4:20. In the parable of the prodigal son, the angry elder son would not go in unto the feast: “And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment” Luke 15:28,29a. Did he run with his father to meet the younger brother? Did he have compassion? Did he, as the father, fall on his neck and kiss him?

My dear Prodigal, did your Elder Brother not see you afar off? Did He not run to you with the Father? Did He not have compassion, fall on your neck, and kiss you as did His Father? And what of the Spirit? It is He who was sent of the Father to woo you, to open your eyes to the Truth; to bring you Home!

A New Commandment?

Is the Old Testament commandment being replaced? Or is there an addendum being attached to it? “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” John 13:34. Now that’s taking it to Higher Plains!

“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept the Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” John 15:9,10,12. Paraphrasing: I have loved you, as the Father has loved me: love one another with this same love. What did our Lord say? Love one another if you so desire or the circumstances are favorable; if you feel like it: it’s your option. No! It’s a command. “Lord, you don’t mean that you’re commanding us to love one another!?!”

The world’s mentality concerning the subject of love: “being infatuated with, to be enchanted by, to be fascinated by, be captivated or enraptured by (Webster).” “Love one another as I have loved you.” Can you imagine Jesus being infatuated with, being enchanted by, being fascinated by, being captivated by - totally depraved sinners, the epitome of unrighteousness, rebellious creatures, being at enmity against a Holy God!?! “Why should He, how could He love me so?” It is “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world. . .Having predestinated us. . . by Christ Jesus to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. . .according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” Eph. 1:4a,59b.11b. He chose to love us; He willed it to be so; He purposed it to be accomplished - “That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ” Eph. 1:12. “Love one another as I have loved you.” Love one another if we are so inclined, if circumstances warrant it; occasionally; if there is no dissention or disagree-ment between us; if we feel like it! No! It is a command! “As I have loved you.” Our Lord CHOSE to love us; He WILLED it to be so, He PURPOSED it. In obedience to His command we are to choose, to will, to purpose to love one another, even as He loves us. “I WILL love the Lord! I WILL love my neighbor! The command of God is for us to LOVE RIGHTEOUSLY. Of ourselves, it cannot be done. It must be Christ in us; living in us, living through us, His love manifested unto others. We, in ourselves are unable to fulfill His command. The same Jesus that fulfilled the commandments of the law while He was on earth is able to fulfill it in you. The power to love others is not yours but His! But you KNOW that! Our prayer should be, “Not I, but Christ.’ Lord, love them through me. I am but a weak vessel. It is thy love and not mine. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” Col.1:27.

“But as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another” I Thes. 4:9. Oh my soul! We are without excuse! It is the Lord! He fulfills the command in you, through you, in your stead. Again, may we say, “Not I, but Christ.”

Let us not be as Jacob, wrestling with the Lord: if we would ‘prevail,’ then let us yield, let us submit unto the hand (and grace) of the Lord. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Remember the grandfather clock: it is the gears and the anchor that are the precision instruments from which the pendulum swings. Quoting from “The Greatest Commandment,” “My dear Pendulum, if Christ is not your head, your Anchor, then you are swinging aimlessly back and forth; your ‘work’ is futile and will accomplish nothing.” The gears and the anchor are not suspended from the pendulum. Why do men persist in feverishly laboring with the pendulum, the ten Commandments? The design of the horse was to pull the cart, not push it! Oh my, what a struggle to attempt to obey the ten commandments apart from obeying the First, the Greatest Commandment: love the Lord your God; and the second, love your neighbor. What of the commandments: Thou shalt not kill. Neither shalt thou commit adultery. Neither shalt thou steal. Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbor. . How may the breaking of these be prevented? Not by the struggles of the flesh. Then how? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”. . .Thou shalt “love one another as I have loved you.”

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. . .” John 3:16. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” I John 3:16. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” I John 4:11. Did you notice the similarity of John 3:16 and I John 3:16?

In conclusion, at least in my poor and finite thinking, the Second Greatest Commandment was not at all a good title for this material! Is this what we suppose: our love for God and our Lord Jesus Christ; but ‘another’ love for the brethren? They are surely not now ( if ever) to be taken as separate, but rather as ONE. How may we reach any other conclusion?

“That they all may be one; as thou Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may also be one in us: . . I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one;. . .thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” John 17:21a,23.

“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” I Peter 1:22.