The most important commandment?
Scripture reading for March 5th: Mark 12:18-37, Psalms 48:1-14, Proverbs 10:26
Men are always trying to reduce the requirement to get into heaven to a simple formula. They seem to want to find the line that God requires and then get as close to it as possible and still maintain their freedom to do as they please. Instead we should be seeking complete obedience with joyful and thankful hearts!
“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked Him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘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 mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 28-31)
Jesus did not give this teacher one of the ten commandments that he may have been expecting. Instead, Jesus gave this man the greatest commandment. It is the law of love that God Himself set in place and which, if kept, can fulfill all the requirements of the ten commandments. Loving God involves keeping the commandments. “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him.” (John 14:21) True love of God involves obedience to His commands. If we keep His commands, we will love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. This is the first five of the ten commandments. We will also love our neighbor as ourselves. This is the second half of the ten commandments.
Jesus commended the teacher when he agreed with His instruction. He told him that he was not far from the kingdom. (Mark 12:34) The last step needed would be to place faith in Jesus Christ. Confessing our sins to God and asking Him for mercy would bring the needed cleansing. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives us power to love God and our neighbor as God does. Have you repented of breaking God’s laws? Do you know you are in His kingdom (not just close)? Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit?