18 January 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
There is a great apostasy abroad that the Christian, once saved, is no longer bound by the Law and Commandments of God (antinomianism). This is a heresy as old, almost, as the Gospel itself, the spirit of antichrist being active even in that primitive day. The verses most often employed to establish this falsity is “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14) This verse does not apply to the very Commandments and Law of God, but rather to the ordinances instituted by Moses and later added, heap upon heap, by the Pharisees and Jewish ministry). We are told that our Lord gave only one Commandment, and that was to love one another. Christ did not give only one Commandment – He gave only one NEW Commandment, and that Commandment encompasses the full Law and Commandments of God.
The most essential element in obedience to God was missing from the Judaism being practiced by the Jewish rulers, and that element was simply LOVE. Without it, no man can know or follow God.
The New Commandment which our Lord proclaimed was actually a Summary, of the Summary, of the Law which He gave to the inquisitive lawyer who said, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” (Matthew 22:36) Our Lord responded with the oft repeated (in my devotions) Summary of the Ten Commandments of 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. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:38-40)
Jesus would not have thusly summarized the two Tables of the Law if He intended to annul them. How ridiculous to believe that the Christian devotee should be of the one and only class of people exempt from obedience to the Law of God!
Peter, in His epistle, states “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:22-23) It is by the Word of God that we came, by grace, to the Throne of Mercy; and it is also by the Word of God that the Ten Commandments were given to His elect people.
The Law and Commandments are no longer written on Tables of Stone to be harshly enforced by the sword and stone, but rather the Commandments are now written on the tender membranes of the Heart – and in the ink of Love – the same Love that redeemed us at Calvary.
Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) To which Commandments did Jesus refer? He only gave one NEW Commandment of Love, so all the others to which He refers are those of God as proclaimed in the Ten Commandments and its summary of the Law.
Obedience to the Commandments and Law of God is no longer under the rigid and burdensome ordinances of the Jews, but by way of the tender love of, and for, our Lord Jesus Christ. How is it possible that love could cover ALL sin? If love conforms to the description given in 1 Corinthians 13, it cannot intentional harm another or prove disobedient to the Law of God. It is the intention and condition of the heart that determines the matter: “ . . . . love covereth all sins.” (Proverbs 10:12) Paul echoes the same principle: “And above all things have fervent charity (LOVE) among yourselves: for charity (LOVE) shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
In summary: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-4) Do we have this level of love? It is far less than that evidenced by our Lord and Savior on the cross.