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The Bible states it very clearly, so there can be no possible misunderstanding: the Law Of Love fulfills the whole Law of God.
THE LAW OF LOVE _____________________________________________________________ For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:14 RSV) _____________________________________________________________And who is your neighbor? Everyone is your neighbor. This is shown in the Parable Of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37, shown below). Therefore, "Love your neighbor as yourself" really means "Love all people as yourself," because everyone is our neighbor.
But what about love for God? Doesn't that come first? Yes, but God counts our love for others as if it were love for Himself. So when we love others, we are loving Him at the same time. This is shown in the Parable Of The Sheep And The Goats (Matthew 25:31-46, in the Appendix below). And we cannot claim to love God until we first love our fellow man.
_____________________________________________________________ If any one says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20 RSV) _____________________________________________________________
But what about The Ten Commandments? Aren't we supposed to obey them? Yes, but The Ten Commandments are only an approximation of what God wants from us. The Pharisees obeyed all of the Ten Commandments, yet God was very displeased with them because they did not have love. The exact thing God wants from us is that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Everything else depends on this.
But what about holiness? Aren't we supposed to avoid improper sex, etc. and be pure and chaste? Aren't we supposed to deny our physical selves in order to strengthen our spiritual selves? Maybe so, but our feeble attempts at being holy do not even come close to God's high standards. To Him, they are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). But if we have love for others, God will overlook a multitude of our sins (1 Peter 4:8). And if we forgive others of their offenses against us, He will forgive us of our offenses against Him (Matthew 5:14-15). Love makes everything holy, since God is love (1 John 4:8, 4:16).
So all of God's requirements for mankind boil down to this one command: "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." If you truly do this one thing only, it is enough. It then doesn't matter if you fall short on some of the dozens of others. But if you do not do this, all of the others together are not enough. This is the big one, more important than all the others combined.
_____________________________________________________________ If you really fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well. (James 2:8 RSV) _____________________________________________________________First Corinthians 13 emphasizes the primacy of love, even over faith itself.
1 Corinthians 13 (KJC - The King James Bible, Clarified) The Supreme Importance Of Love 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing. 13:4 Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, 13:5 Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; 13:6 Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 13:7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 13:8 Love never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. * * *Other Scriptures also tell us that love for others is the most important thing.
"Love For Others Fulfills The Law" Galatians 5:14 (RSV) For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Romans 13:8 (RSV) Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:9 (RSV) The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Romans 13:10 (RSV) Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. James 2:8 (RSV) If you really fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well. Proverbs 10:12 (RSV) Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. 1 Peter 4:8 (RSV) Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.
"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 7:12 (KJV)If we love other people as ourselves, then how should we treat them? We should treat them exactly as we would like to be treated in the same situation! This is the Golden Rule: "Treat others as you would like to be treated." The Golden Rule puts The Law Of Love into action.
For more about The Golden Rule, please visit The Committee For The Golden Rule. For specific ways to follow The Golden Rule, please visit The Twenty-One Greatest Ideas In Human Relations.
Jesus Christ doesn't "fit into the picture." Jesus Christ IS the picture, the perfect embodiment of Love.
By our own flawed human nature, it is almost impossible to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Maybe some few people can do it, but most people cannot even come close. But when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord, His Holy Spirit enters us and dwells within us, transforming our flawed nature into a more perfect nature, more like His own. Only then are we fully able to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
To accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour, please visit Gateway To Jesus. Then please visit Home Page For The New Christian, where you will find helpful guidance for starting your new life in the Lord.
Blessings to you in Jesus Christ our Lord!
May the Lord bless this presentation of His holy Word.
Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director LoveAllPeople.org
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APPENDIX: Parable Of The Good Samaritan, which shows that all people are our neighbor and Parable Of The Sheep And The Goats, which shows that God counts our love for others as if it were love for Himself. LUKE 10:25-37 (RSV) The Good Samaritan _____________________________________________________________ 25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" 27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." 28 And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live." 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, 34 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." _____________________________________________________________ MATTHEW 25:31-46 (RSV) The Sheep And The Goats _____________________________________________________________ 31 "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. 34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' 40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44 Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' 45 Then he will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' 46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." _____________________________________________________________Blessings to you in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director LoveAllPeople.org
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God's One Law For All Mankind: "Love All People As Yourself."