“Love one another,” a commandment given by the Lord Jesus Christ for His disciples, then and now, may be found in John 13:34-35.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.””
Denomination battles make no sense if Christians failed to love one another. Not just loving each other, but loving in the same manner as Jesus loved the church. See Ephesians 5:25-27.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
The apostle Paul highlighted the importance of love within the church; see 1 Corinthians 13:1-8.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”
The disciples asked Jesus Christ about the time and impending signs of His return and of the end of the age, vis-a-vis His proclamation of the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. So Jesus answered, saying,
“And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:4-13)
Endures in faith or in love? Can a Christian truly separate faith in Christ from loving one another?
The quick answer may be found through Matthew 25:40-45.
“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’”
So we see, faith in Christ Jesus and loving one another cannot be separated, ‘cause it was and still is the commandment of Jesus for everyone who claims to be His follower or a Christian.
Ironic, isn’t it? True Christian love is a rarity within the Christian congregation. Make no mistake, Jesus Christ clearly said, “It is by loving one another that people may know that we are indeed His disciples.”
See the context of John 13:34-35 and you will see the New Commandment was given after Judas had left, hence it was for the eleven apostles, who without a doubt endured to the end.
Why then do we have a loose idea of Christianity? It’s more self-preserving than loving each other.
Salvation indeed comes by faith in Christ alone. But faith goes hand-in-hand with obedience to God’s word. Certainly Jesus’ commandment is the Word of God. Hence, Matthew 25:45 should be a reminder to everyone who claims to be a Christian.
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