Friday, 27 November 2009

The Law of Christ: Law of Love

The Exhortation to the Apostles
The Exhortation to the Apostles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"... we find that the law of love is the basis of all the instruction given by Christ and his Apostles. They often mentioned details which would not have occurred to us, but the details are all strictly related to the fundamental principle presented in the law through Moses and stated by Christ to be the foundation of his teaching: the whole-hearted love of God, and the self-sacrificing love of man.

The Lord Jesus gave a new impetus and even a new significance to the old command. Some disciples have been puzzled by his saying: "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another" (John 13:34). In view of the fact that this law was so old and Christ had emphasized its fundamental character, why did he call it new? It is easy to find the answer to this question, and when found it becomes perhaps the most moving and searching of all thoughts for disciples.

The Mosaic law commanded that a man should love the Lord his God with all the heart, soul and strength, and that he should love his neighbour as himself; but these were not, and could not be, the laws by which a man could be judged before any merely human tribunal. The feelings and thoughts of a man's mind cannot be assessed correctly by a human judge. The law courts of mortal men can only judge in a negative manner. That was inevitably true in the old dispensation, and so a man who in no way injured his neighbours was legally correct in his social behaviour, even though wrong feelings were in his heart and wrong thoughts in his mind. Human judges were guided by the sight of their eyes and the hearing of their ears. Christ is under no such limitations. Even in the days of his flesh he knew what was in man, and needed not that any should tell him. When he comes as the ruler of mankind, he will not judge after the sight of his eyes or the hearing of his ears. With an all-penetrating knowledge, he will look into the heart of a man, and judge him by what he really is, and not what he appears to be. For us to be acceptable disciples this law of love must be in our hearts. There must be not merely an outward show of piety, but the reality of love for God, not merely a formal show of solicitude for a neighbour's welfare, or conventional acts of charity, but a real love of man. The Lord will look into our inmost being, and require that the reality of love shall be there."

- Islip Collyer
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The Law of Love
What it Means to be a Christian

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