Could you name two things that the old covenant (established at Mt Sinai), and the new covenant (established after Jesus’ death and resurrection), have in common? Both the old and new covenant do require obedience. But did you know that both covenants involve love? Lets look first at what Jesus said about what we call the old covenant, or what the Jews called the law.
Matthew 22:35-40 (NIV)
35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The expert in the law asked Jesus a question about what He believed was the purpose of the law, obedience. In other words, he thought God’s purpose for the law was to have His people behave in a certain way. But Jesus did not agree with that. He said that the purpose of the law was for God’s people to show love. The most important thing was to love God with everything you had. (All of your mind, soul and heart) Secondly, to love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. So, love was the purpose of obeying the law. What did He say about the new covenant?
John 14:22-26 NIV)
22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
In verse 22 we see that in the new covenant, God makes a covenant with His people on an individual basis and not a national one like in the old covenant. A Christian can only accept Jesus as Lord and Savior for him or her self. He or she cannot do that for family, community or nation. In verse 23, Jesus mentions love first, then obedience. Christians are to show their love for God by their obedience. Jesus and the Father have given their word that they will love us and promise to live in us through the Holy Spirit.
Did you notice that Jesus says something else about the new covenant before He gives the promises concerning the advocate, the Holy Spirit? In verse 24 He plainly states that if someone does not love Him they are not in obedience to Him. He also tells them that this command of love being required in this covenant is not from Him alone but from the Father. God looks on the heart, our attitude and intent. We need to combine living love and obedience to be acceptible to God. Because you love Him, you want to obey Him. That’s the only way that Father, Son and Spirit will dwell in us.
Without love, there’s no way we can be in the kingdom with God for eternity. After all, God created us to love us and for us to love Him.
Please pray with me.
Holy Father, I come before Your throne in Jesus’ name and in the Spirit. I do want to love and obey You, but I cannot do that of myself. In Your love and mercy, please use your divine power through the Spirit to change me, so I can love and obey in a way that pleases You. Amen.
copyright 2019, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, Christs Disciples Ministries, All Rights Reserved