Last post we introduced the idea that “love one another” is part of the greatest commandment in the New Testament. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (Jn 13:34). The “new” of this commandment not only signals a radical departure from the consequence model of the Old Testament, but its practice also involves a new community; the church. Following Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, His disciples became part of something totally new; the church, the literal expression of the body of Christ on earth. And love is the foundation from which everything springs forth in how this body life is to be lived.
“But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Eph 4:15-16). Love is the foundation for spiritual growth in the church.
“And so, as those who have been chosen by God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (Col 3:12-14). Love is the foundation for unity in the church.
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf, and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love” (Col 2:1-2) “Knit together in love” is a beautiful picture of the love fabric that unites us in the church.
“Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another” (I Thess 4:9). The Thessalonians were taught by God to love one another. What does God want to teach us about loving one another? We will continue with that thought next time.