Is your Bible sterile?
This Sunday, I’m teaching in church on Matthew 22:34-40:
Now when the Pharisees heard that he [Jesus] silenced the Sadducees they gathered together in the same place. And one of them, an expert in the law, asked, testing him, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “‘You must love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments all the Law and the Prophets depend” (translation mine).
In studying the passage, I came across this quote about what Jesus means when he says that all the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments:
Nothing in Scripture can cohere or be truly obeyed unless these two are observed. The entire biblical revelation demands heart religion marked by total allegiance to God, loving him and loving one’s neighbor. Without these two commandments the Bible is sterile (D.A. Carson in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8, p. 465, bold mine).
I’ve seen that kind of sterile religion, haven’t you? I’ve seen it in the mirror.
It’s interesting that Jesus gives two commandments when he’s asked which is the greatest. I think the reason is because you can’t divide them.
1 John 4:20 reads, “If anyone 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.” You can’t love God without loving your neighbor.
Likewise, you can’t love your neighbor without loving God. Again, I think Carson puts it well, “Disciplined altruism is not love.” Loving God is the only adequate incentive for loving your neighbor as yourself in the radical way taught by the story of the Good Samaritan.
I’ll be asking at least the following questions in our time of discussion after the sermon this Sunday: First, why do you love God? How has your love for him affected your life this week? And second, what things do you find yourself wishing somebody would do for you? Do you take the initiative to do those things for others?
I’m looking forward to encouraging, being challenged, and being encouraging to my brothers and sisters this Sunday. May our Bibles and our faith not be sterile!
Filed under: The Gospel | 1 Comment
Tags: Church, Love, Theology