A NEW COMMANDMENT
"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love on another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another."—John 13:34, 35.
In considering the Ten Commandments it has been seen how the ethic of Jesus magnified the law as given by Moses. Nothing therein minimized the value, or lowered the standard, of the Decalogue. He distinctly declared this to be the case when. He said, "Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to, destroy, but to fulfill." (Matt. 5:17) Both in His life and teaching, He fulfilled the law; that is, He filled it to the full, passing in deed and word, beyond the mere letter, into the region of spiritual intention. Those who had known Him as Teacher could never charge Him with having substituted the traditions of men for the commandment of God, or say that. He had so explained the commandments as to make them simple and easy. His kingly words had searched the realm of motive, and had spoken in authority as to the vital importance of character.
He uttered this new commandment when He was about to leave His disciples. "Knowing that His hour was come, that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end" (John 13:1) These words declare the principle underlying His life. It was that of love. In the impulse of that love He girded Himself and washed the feet of the disciples; thus giving expression to the utmost truth He had come to teach men, that where love is the motive of life, service is its expression. (Rom. 12:1-2)
He then commenced His final teaching, and in this connection enunciated the new commandment which revealed the purpose of the whole economy of grace. In Him grace had its epiphany, and in him grace finally accomplished its greatest work, not for the setting aside of law, but in order that all the requirements of law may be met in activities of life which spring from the impulse of love, perfection the result.
There is a sense in which the commandment is not new. "Beloved, no new commandments write I unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning: the old commandment is the word which ye heard. Again, new commandments write I unto you which thing is true in Him and in you: because the darkness is passing away, and the true light already shines" (1 John 2:7-8). The commandment was old. Christ had already summarized the law by declaring it to be love. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hangs the whole law, and the prophets." Moreover, this summary of the law was embodied in the Mosaic economy from which Christ quoted (Deut. 6:5 with Lev. 19:18).
What, then, is new in this repetition of the old commandment? The answer is given by John in the passage already quoted. That which is new is the light shed upon the commandment by the life and teaching of Christ; which by the time John wrote, was also shining through the lives of His disciples, so that He was able to say, "A new commandment . . . which is true in Him and in you." (1 John 2:8)
Let consideration be given to this old commandment in its new light. Notice, first, this new commandment as including the old; secondly, the new commandment as revealed in Christianity.
The New Commandment as including the Old
Every breach of the Decalogue is a violation of love. It follows, therefore, if love suggest, control, direct the life, there can be no such breach. With regard to man's relation to man, this is distinctly taught by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans. "Owe no man anything, save to love one another: For he that loves his neighbor hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is summed up in this word, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love works no ill to its neighbor: love therefore is the fulfillment of the law" (Rom. 13:8-10). It is equally true of man's relation to God. Of such importance is the understanding of this simple and awe-inspiring principle, that it may be best to recall the whole of the ten words, noticing how love fulfils them.
If man love God in all the breadth and beauty suggested by the words "with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," (Matt. 22:37) he cannot possibly find room for another God, and so the first word is kept. If man love God completely, he will not suffer anything to stand between him and God, thus the graven image is broken to pieces, and swept away by the force of a stronger affection. Out of love will spring that respecting of the name of God which will dry the springs of blasphemy, and make the double dealing of the hypocrite impossibility. The Sabbath will be eagerly welcomed, and all its privileges earnestly and gladly appropriated when it is a season in which love may find its way into the attitude of worship, and the acts of service flowing therefrom.
Passing to the second table, and looking now at love in its working towards others, it will at once be seen that the only sufficient power for obedience and honor rendered to parents is that of love. There will be no thought of murder until the awful moment has arrived in which the flame of love has died out upon the altar. Unchastity of every description is love's sure destruction, growing gross upon the very death of that which it so vilely personates. All theft is rendered impossible by true love for one's neighbor. Love sits as a sentinel at the portal of the lips, and arrests the faintest whisper of false witness against a neighbor; but, rather dwells within the heart, and slays the thought that might have inspired the whisper. It is love and love alone that, finding satisfaction in God, satisfies the heart's hunger, and prevents all coveting.
The new commandment, therefore, which is an expression of the intention of the old, perfectly states the one law that includes the many. If man may but learn to love, he may walk erect in the light of Sinai, "without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." (Eph. 5:27)
Yet this is but imperfectly to state the fullness of the new law. To love is to have a righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. (Matt. 5:20) It is to do more than can be expressed in the letter. Love is the fruitful tree whose branches run over the wall. Love is the impulse which carries deed far beyond duty. Love is lavish, prodigal, and impulsive often, to the calculating correctness of the mere literalist. Love will take its precious ointment and pour it without thought of cost as an expression of itself.
To know the value of love as the force which fulfils law, it has, to be contrasted with other impulses. Duty will become mechanical, exact, and regular. Love will take the second mile, and give the cloak also, the second always including the first, the cloak forever follows the coat. Thus, while duty may keep the letter, love will enfold it in an atmosphere that glorifies it. Thus it is that "scarcely for a righteous man will one die: peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die." (Rom. 5:7) The difference between righteousness and goodness here is that between duty and love.
For the sake of appearances how much will man do? With what regularity all the details of conduct that are watched by the eyes of men will be attended to, lest by accident the observer should adversely criticize. Love cares little for appearance, will often startle the mere casual observer by its utter disregard of what the critical may think, if it may but serve the need of some lonely soul, or carry a message of hope into some dark dungeon of despair.
Self-esteem is also a remarkably stern sentinel of words and deeds. To maintain his reputation man will often suffer much, and yet how often, sadly will he break the law of God under this very impulse. Love has forgotten self, and therefore has no time to waste in maintaining reputation or ministering to personal satisfaction. It thinks of others, serves others, and so fulfils the whole law.
The New Commandment as Revealed in Christianity
From this bare statement of the case there will be no dissent. To perfectly love is to perfectly fulfil the law which was uttered in love. It is at this point that man becomes conscious of his own impotence. Who can love with absolute disinterestedness? It is at this point also that Christianity asserts itself by revealing the love-life in a Person, and communicating that life as a dynamic of love to others.
Jesus of Nazareth was Love Incarnate. His whole existence was the most perfect expression of love that the world has ever had. It was therefore the fulfilling of the law, so that the testimony of God, man, and devils declares His perfection. Three times the Divine voice broke the usual silence of the heavens, in announcement of the satisfaction of God in the life of Jesus; the Roman Procurator uttered the true sentence, after all evidence had been given, when he said: "I find no fault in Him"; (John 18:38; 19:4, 6) and although He needs no tribute from the under-world of darkness, it is a significant and suggestive fact that a demon said to Him, "I know Thee Who Thou art, the Holy One of God." (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34) This thrice-attested perfection was the result of His perfect love. He loved God, and proved it by His own uncompromising loyalty to His will.
*His love to man was manifest in His attitude toward friends and foes, in the severity of the anger that occasionally flashed forth against tyrants and oppressors; and in the unceasing tenderness of His action toward the oppressed.
Whatever question is asked about Christ, the answer is somehow conditioned in love. Ask concerning His character, and answer by describing the characteristics which in their sum total made that character, and every one of them springs from, and the whole of them result in, love. Question what was the reason of all He did, or said, and again it will be found that He acted and spoke in the impulse of love. Examine the direction in which His life proceeded, from boyhood to manhood, from the secrecy of the home at Nazareth to the public ways of the Teacher, and ever on to the Cross, and His pathway is the pathway of love. Mark the activity of His life, and never in the records can a deed be discovered except such as are deeds of love. Observe the time of His coming or going, His delays and His rushing’s, His retirements and returns to the ways of men. His whole life was a radiant revelation of love itself, and love as the fulfillment of law.
The issue of this life was at once a mystery and revelation of love, crowning all that had gone before. In His death love made atonement for the sin of the loveless. The difference between self-sacrificing love, and self-seeking lust, creates the necessity for atonement in a double sense. "Sin is the transgression of the law," (1 John 3:4) and demands atonement. "Love is the fulfilment of the law," (Rom. 13:10) and provides atonement. *One of the first evidences of the principle of sin in the life of man was his selfish attempt to place the blame of wrong upon another. *The utmost evidence of the life of love lies in the fact that love takes the blame attached to others. The Cross was the necessary outcome of the perfect love of God as revealed in Christ. "He that knew no sin was made sin." (2 Cor. 5:21) Love, having fulfilled the law, was faultless, but took to itself the fault and guilt of all who through lack of love had broken law. This is the highest mystery of atonement, not here explained but declared.
Through the mystery of this death, love became dynamic. Herein lays the lonely splendor of Christianity. It was love that was able to say, "I lay down My life, and if I lay it down, I will take it again." (John 10:17) Taking it again in the power of resurrection, He henceforth has communicated it to all repentant and believing souls, so that to such it may be said in the words of the apostle, "Christ in you the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27)
Thus, love at the center has definite relation to the whole circumference of conduct. Love as the impulse of life produces the activities of love. Love being the highest reason, all the deductions is also of love. Who shall write anything to describe the love-life after the poem of love from the pen of Paul. "Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, Both not behave itself unseemly, seeks not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil, rejoices not in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." (1 Cor. 13:4-8) Within the compass of that marvelous description, lies the most perfect unfolding of the fulfilment of law by love.
Herein, then, lies the severest test of all profession that it is possible to discover: "He that says he is, in the light, and hates his brother, is in the darkness even until now." (1 John 2:9) Every breach of law is due to lack of love, and all hatred in the heart is due either to the absence of the Christ within, or to willful disobedience to His impulses of love.
It is only at Calvary that man can do without Sinai; for it is only there that all the purposes suggested in the code of the mountain of fire can come within the range of possibility. It is only when His love indwells the spirit, and constrains the heart, that law is fulfilled. Let but Christ reign in the life of man, and thoughts will be born, words will be spoken, and deeds will be done in love. Then in thought and word and deed law will be fulfilled.
It will be profitable to search and try the heart by the new commandment rather than by the old. Let all the deeds of the days be tracked to motive, and every word traced to inspiration, and every thought probed to conception; and if the result of the process be that love is discovered, men may rest content both as to deeds and words and thoughts.
Such searching must result in deep humiliation, but it should also drive the humbled soul into the new life of dependence upon Him Who was, and is, the Eternal Love.
Those that love Him keep His commandments (John 14:15). Perfection accomplished and the Father says to His Son, "Go get your Bride." (Matt. 24:36)
America is in a fallen state while attempting to elect a President to take over after being decimated and CHANGED by its last one. America has allowed voices over the last years to speak false wounding words that were disallowed in her past history. Education has been changed to the point where these false views spoken have been accepted as truth while truth itself (Bible) has been removed from the scholastic system. And then conversation with Truth Himself in Person (Jesus Christ) has been banned (prayer). And the instigator and impetus of this purchase of falsehood (the devil) is not even recognized as a creature of God; thereby the perfect storm. So now it seems their next choice on the one side is one of the most lawless characters to ever set foot on this earth (Hillary) or on the other a man who is one of the wealthiest who has no trouble with multiple marriages (3) and gay marriage, abortion (although he flips on his beliefs as time evolves - TRUMP). Christ never wavered once on these concoctions of man. Its all about themselves and is what Christ will come back to His earth and judge. Men in the church are identifying themselves by the very vote they made in the last 2 elections and now will further clarify their religious stance on love in the next.