As I Have Loved You
The New Covenant came with a new commandment. The Old Covenant had 613 commandments attached to it. The New Covenant has one. Only one! What a deal! And it is to love others as Jesus has loved you…
A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
If we are to love one another as Jesus has loved us, then we need to know how Jesus has loved us. Many people major on the “love one another” part, but I believe that the most important aspect of that commandment is the “as I have loved you” part. We need to receive love from Jesus first. We can’t give away what we don’t have.
If I asked you – or even, commanded you – to give away 100 billion rand, could you do it? Probably not. Why? Because you probably don’t have 100 billion rand. You would be totally unable to obey my commandment. But if I first gave you the money (which would make you very rich and me very generous), then you would be able to. You need to receive the money before you can give it away. It is the same with God’s love.
We first need to receive God’s love before we can love others. We are totally unable to obey Jesus’ one and only commandment if we don’t first allow Him to love us. You can try, toil, labour and strive to love others as much as you like; but if you haven’t taken time to accept and receive God’s love first, then you will always fail. And the harder you try, the more you will fail.
Following Jesus is not about trying harder to love others; it’s about discovering God’s love for you. It is not about how much you can love God; it is all about how much He loves you. The Gospel is not about what we can do for God (that’s religion!); it’s about what He has done for us. And He did it through the finished work – the death, burial, and resurrection – of our Lord Jesus.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The Cross is God’s final word on the matter of whether He loves us or not. He demonstrated, exhibited, showed and proved His love for us through the sacrificial death of Jesus while we were still sinners. While we were at our worst, He showed us His best. God delights in doing that – giving us His best while we are at our worst.
1 John 3:16a
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.
1 John 4:9-10
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
If you don’t feel like God loves you – if you are lacking in your revelation of the love of God – the key is to examine, ponder, behold and meditate on the Cross. As we spend time thinking on all that Jesus went through and accomplished for us, our hearts become persuaded and assured of God’s love for us. And when that happens, we will automatically overflow onto those around us. Loving others is simply a by-product of knowing how much you are loved. It’s the fruit, not the root.
When we major on the “as I have loved you” part of Jesus’ one and only commandment, we will find that the “love one another” part becomes easy and effortless. It becomes a joy and a pleasure. It becomes a desire, not an obligation. And that is true love!
In His love
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