“The Rub”

Are you tired of “religious” laws and “regulations”? I know for sure I am. They will wear you out. When you think you are keeping them you begin to take on an air of superiority, a self-righteouness as it were.  However,  a little farther down the trail, you  realize that not even  you can keep these “rules” and “regulations” perfectly.  This just leads to conviction and a feeling of failure and condemnation.  So you jump back onto the religious treadmill and go another round. That’s the way it is when you are keeping the wrong law.

I am convinced there are only two laws in the kingdom of God that we MUST keep. Everything else is either commentary on these two laws, or the foundation for the rest of the principles and precepts that show us how these laws are to be expressed. Let me repeat for the sake of emphasis, there are only two laws in the kingdom we must keep and they are grace laws in and of themselves. Legalist are looking for many more rules to keep to seek to justify themselves by their own doing. The more check marks they get for doing this or that, the better they consider themselves before God and others.

Jesus was asked by a lawyer/scribe the question, what is the greatest commandment in the law? The lawyer said this to trick Jesus into answering in such a way as to find a “legal” fault with Him. Here is the account:

Matthew 22:35–40 (NASB95) 35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

The question itself is probing, but the answer from Jesus is rather surprising.  Jesus didn’t mention the 10 Commandments, nor did He quote any of the other multiplicity of laws found in the Books of the Law of Moses. Instead Jesus simply said, “Love”. Love is the greatest commandment. Love God above all else and love others as you love yourself. These two commandments fulfill the whole of the the kingdom laws of God.

For Christians, loving God seems to be the easy part, unless you factor in that Jesus also said in John 14:15, “If you love me you will obey me.” Here is where the “rub” comes in. Loving God, who deserves it for all He has done for us, goes without saying for most of us. The problem is we stop right there. We say we love God and that soothes our conscience and makes us believe we are doing all that is necessary to walk the kingdom walk. But in doing so we are only keeping half the love law of God. The other half must be kept likewise. We must walk in love with those around us. And, we must be mindful of the fact they might not be as “deserving” as God of our love.  That’s the rub, but that is also the New Testament Law.

1 John 4:19–21 (NASB95) 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

The air of the kingdom is grace. We are allowed to breathe it in and out everyday of our lives. However, the terra firma of the kingdom, that part which we walk on, is to be the firm ground of “love”. We are to walk in love. Grace-filled love, mercy-filled love with those who don’t always deserve it. Why? Because this is the God kind of love that He gives to us who are so undeserving as well.

Ephesians 5:2 (NASB95) 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

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