Matthew 22:36 -38 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
During the ministry of Jesus Christ, he was constantly being challenge by the religious leadership of his day. On one such occasion, Jesus was asked by a Lawyer what was the greatest commandment in the Law (Matthew 22:36). To which Jesus answered and said to fully love God. (Matthew 22:37)
From the birth of the Church at Pentecost, New Covenant believers have been trying ever since to fulfill this command of Jesus. Many around the world are trying to love God more, as if love is something that we can work up by our effort. The only problem is that we forget the context of the verses. Jesus was asked a question about the Law of Moses, and in His answer He quoted right out of the Law from, Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might, and Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
The Commandment to love God and Love others is part of the Old Covenant. In the New Covenant, we have a better promise about our Love and God, 1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
Under the New Covenant, our love for God is not a commandment, rather it is a fruit of our relationship with God. Our love towards God is a response to receiving the amazing revelation of all he has done for us in the Finished work as an expressing of His Love to us. Similarly, that is how we fulfill the other of Jesus’ commandments, John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. If we don’t know receive His Love for us, we cannot love other as he loved us. If we focus on trying to love God more, we are actually going back to the Law, and under the old covenant.
We see these ways of relating to God in the lives of two of the disciples of Jesus, Peter and John. Peter was set to showing how much he loved Jesus by his works. Full credit to Peter, he did amazing exploits in doing so. Ultimately his attempts to love Christ failed him as he denied Christ three times. Peter in many ways is where many believers find themselves, boasting in their love for God, and demonstrating it by their works.
The New Covenant realities are found in the life of John, the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 13:23). It is important to remember that John wrote that about himself. He never boasted in his Love for Jesus, although it was clear that he did, His Boast was squarely on Jesus’ Love For Him.
The New Covenant is not all about Loving God more, it is about allowing God to Love us. Even if we feel no love for God, or even if we hate God, that does not change the way He feels about us. Jesus said, the exact same love that the Father Loves Him, to that same measure and degree, Jesus Loves Us (John 15:9 ). He can’t love us any more than he already does. We should not condemn ourselves by our lack of Love towards God, rather we allow him to pour His love into us, and soon we find ourselves effortless loving as He does, by His Grace through our Lives.
Paul White talking about how God’s Love Changes us.