Untitled Sermon (8)
The Text (10.25-37)
How People Usually Understand It
Luke the Theologian
The Fruit of Sovereign Grace
Love for people, or the lack of it, reveals the quality and effectiveness of the philosophy we hold. And from a Biblical perspective our love for people is even more revealing, because it actually indicates the authenticity and health of our relationship with God. The two divisions of the Ten Commandments teach this explicitly. The first division, the first four commandments, all demand and enhance our love for God and are summed up in the Shema: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4, 5). The concluding six commandments, the second table of the Law, all demand that we love others and are capsulized in the words of Leviticus 19:18: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The spiritual logic is clear: you must first love God with all that is in you, and if you do, you will be able to love others as you love yourself. Love for God produces love for people.
Turning this spiritual logic on its head, we are able to discern one’s love for God by the existence of a love for others. Love for God is difficult to see, but love for people is subject to relational verification. Significantly, Paul, writing to the Galatians, quoted Leviticus 19:18 as shorthand for keeping the whole law: “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (5:14). Does this mean we can earn salvation by being a good neighbor? No. We can only love our neighbor as ourselves if we love God with all that is in us and allow him to work in our hearts. No philosophy can do that, not even the best religious philosophy.