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Saturday, October 16, 2010

10/17/10- Luke 10:25-28 Defining Love

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
26 "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" 27 He answered, " '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, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " 28 "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

(Gaugin 1898 "Whence, What, Whither?")

Thoughts: The Law, when properly understood is a Law of love.  Martin Luther used to say, "Love God and do what you will."  The love we have for God keeps us straight with God.  Jesus said it like this, "If you love me, you will do what I say" (Jn. 14:15).  When we love someone (think of a young couple in love) we hang on their every word, look for their every gesture, and we want to please them.  Loving God is primary, for it inspires, motivates, and holds us to account for the second command- loving others.  Without love for God, then the love for others loses its definition.  Some, apart from God, define love for others merely as sexual love.  Some define it merely as philanthropy.  But God is love.  The very definition of kindness, justice, and consideration is based on who God- the eternal Creator- is.  We should never assume that people left to themselves will naturally love.  The people of New Guinea- before they found Christ were naturally cannibals (cf. "Lords of the Earth" by Don Richardson).  Perhaps you remember the story of the painter Gaugin, who idealized primitive cutlures- believing that if we could just get back to these primitive cultures we would find truth and innocense.  But what he found in Tahiti nearly led him to suicide- brutality and meanness (so he painted "What, Whence, Whither?").  God's love defines love for us and a purpose for us.  The purpose is both verticle (loving God), and horizontal (loving others). 

Prayer: Lord, may your love inspire me to listen to you, and inspire me to love others.

John Calvin abridged: Mark [12:28-34] and Matthew [22:34-40] are in different settings than Luke [10:25-28], though all depict a scribe asking a question to tempt Jesus.  Jesus' reply, "What is written in the law" surprises the scribe, as he was offended that the Gospel seemed to him against Moses. While no person can keep the law perfectly (and therefore the law only condemns), the law itself is righteousness.  While we are to love God more than people, love is required of God even more than worship or honor. Worship without the heart does not please Him.  No one will obey God unless they love Him. Let us learn that the commencement of godliness is the love of God.  God disdains the forced woship of people, and chooses to be worshipped freely and willingly.  Let us also learn that love for God also includes the reverence due Him.

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