August 9, 2017
The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14 (NIV)
The whole of God’s law can be summed in one word—Love. “Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom. 13:10).
When someone asked Jesus “What is the greatest commandment?” He said, “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments” (Mark 12:30-31, Mat. 22:40).
Christ calls us to live a life of love (Eph. 5:2). And the law spells out what that means. Living a life of love means honoring your father and mother. It means not committing adultery. It means telling the truth. It means rejoicing in what God gives to your brother or sister without coveting.
Another example: Christ calls you to be generous (1 Tim. 6:18). But what does that mean? Read backwards into the Old Testament. You will find that God’s people gave a tenth of their income back to the Lord. You may ask, “Isn’t this making it into a rule?” No. It is inviting you to use the law to inform you in pursuing the generosity to which Christ calls you in the gospel.
We need this kind of instruction. We need to know what a life of love looks like. So, read the New Testament backwards. Use the law to spell out what Christ is calling you to pursue. Let God’s law guide you, instruct you, and challenge you in what love and generosity look like.
What is the danger we face if we read the New Testament without the benefit of Old Testament teaching?