Loving Your Neighbor

Posted: May 16, 2018 in Blog
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Of faith, hope, and love—love is the greatest of these. Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ, and loving the lost has been the focus; we’ve yet to come to loving Jesus Christ, be patient we’ll get there. 

Love has no shortage of biblical precept, nor is there a shortage of need for discussion. 

Loving the lost, our fellow man, our neighbor is our current focus. In Matthew 22:36–40 we read about the greatest of the commands, ““Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 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. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

The command is clear. Its goal is equally as clear. Yet Christians need much more than the command to love. How so? By answering why its necessary, and how the ability to authentically love is even possible is highly important to this discussion. Otherwise commands are the platform of loveless death. Let’s face it, love, true love, isn’t ooie-gooey-warm-and-fuzzy, I don’t care what the Princess Bride teaches. 

Horace Bushnell has beautifully expressed love in light of the perfection of the atonement. In the end, unless we grasp the perfection of the atonement, we will never really understand the power and depth of love as commanded in Christ. 

John 15:13,Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

Love is a principle essentially vicarious in its own nature, identifying the subject with others, so as to suffer their adversities and pains, and taking on itself the burden of their evils. There is a Gethsemane hid in all love. Holding such a view of vicarious sacrifice, we must find it belonging to the essential nature of all holy virtue. We are also required, of course, to go forward and show how it pertains to all other good beings, as truly as to Christ himself in the flesh—how the eternal Father before Christ, and the Holy Spirit coming after, and the good angels both before and after, all alike have borne the burdens, struggled in the pains of their vicarious felling for men; and then, at last, how Christianity come to its issue, in begetting in us the same vicarious love that reigns in all the glorified and good minds of the heavenly kingdom; gathering us in after Christ our Master, as they have learned to bear his cross, and be with him in his passion.” Horace Bushnell

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Loving the souls of others is costly. It is an endeavor of loving the unloveable, the unloved, and the loveless. Jesus’ purpose in His seeking of the lost is most assuredly the glory of God displayed in His fidelity to the Father, and His love for the souls of man. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke19:10

Phenomenal love, different from anything mankind knows, is the love of The Creator for His creation. What makes the love of God for His creation so special is that He loves the unloveable and loveless. Grace is extended to mankind when mankind not only rebelled, but lovelessly pursued their own glory apart from the Father. Even in mankind’s rebellion, God mercifully-graciously-longsufferingly pursues those whom He purposes to make His own. 

In His life lived upon the earth Jesus displayed a great love for the souls of man. John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus gave His life, for the unloveable according to the world’s standards. Luke 5:32, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

This manner of love can only be expressed in the parables in Luke 15, verses 8–10 give a good indication of the diligence the Savior gives to those who are His, “…what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Christ’s love leads others to love like Christ. Where is your heart for the souls of mankind? Do you love the unloveable, unloved, and loveless in Christ Jesus?