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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
July 10, 2004

     An expert in the Law of Moses stood up and asked Jesus a question to see what he would say. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to have eternal life?"
     Jesus answered, "What is written in the Scriptures? How do you understand them?"
     The man replied, "The Scriptures say, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.' They also say, 'Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself.'"
     Jesus said, "You have given the right answer. If you do this, you will have eternal life."

Luke 10:25-28 (CEV*)

Here we have the essence of the gospel summed up in one commandment and a corollary to it. The message is simple, but not easy to live out.

There is no ritual which has saving power. There is no set of behaviorial rules which we can scrupulously follow and be sure we're in the Kingdom. There's not a list of "shalt nots" - we can't make it just by avoiding certain behaviors. Legalism just won't do.

The essence of the gospel is love. We must love God fully and completely. If we do, we naturally will also love our neighbors - which appears to mean all other humans based on the Parable of the Good Samaritan which immediately follows this passage - as much as we love ourself. There are many things we will do if we love in this way, and many others which we will not do. However, it can't be reduced to a list of do's and don't's. Rather, love guides our every step and permeates our entire life.

We each need to examine ourselves and see if love undergirds everything we do and think. We need to pray to have everything in us that is not of love removed. We need to look to the example of Christ's love to guide us. We need to humbly seek to be filled with that love.

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2004 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 17-Jul-2004 19:48:25 EDT