Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. – Matthew 22:37, 39.
This is the sum, the chief contents, the real and true meaning of all commandments, each commandment being but an application of this to particular requirements; this must be the living heart of the fulfillment of all commandments; each separate commandment marks but the pulse-beatings that should and must come from this heart.
“Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Thus Christ said, thus says the entire Scripture. And you can see that it is so, my dear Christian. In a measure, every person can see this, especially when he hears it. Since God is the most High; since He is Goodness itself and worthy of being loved more than anything else, you are to love Him with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. If you do not do this, you are sinful and do what is wrong.
Since God regards your neighbor just as highly as yourself, you are to love your neighbor as yourself. If you do not do this, you are sinful and do what is wrong. God desires no outward, unwilling, slavish, loveless fulfillment of His commandments. Love must impel you to fulfill all commandments. But our love of God is not to be kindled by His Law, but by the Gospel. The love of God toward us in sending His Son to die for our sins should create in us a love for Him as a fruit of our faith in Him, who has “redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). Now“we love him, because He first loved us” (I John 4:19).
Since you are a regenerated child of God, you begin, it is true, to love God and your neighbor. If you have this love, as God commands it of you, then you will gladly and properly, according to your “new man” (Ephesians 4:24), show your love for your Savior by keeping His “commandments” (John 14:15), by hearing His “voice” in the Scriptures and following Him (John 10:27). Oh, but we fall so short of loving our God and our neighbor as we ought to each day. This is why we always need to return to the Lord’s precious Gospel of His free forgiveness for all of our shortcomings and His free righteousness to cover all of our unrighteousness (Romans 3:22-26); this is the only source and strength of our continuing love toward Him and toward our neighbor.
PRAYER – O God, most High, Fountain of goodness, and most worthy to be loved, whose love toward me and my fellow-sinners on earth knows neither bound nor measure, who did not spare Thine own Son, but did deliver Him up for us all, that in Him we might live forever; continue to have mercy upon me, a poor sinner, and for Christ’s sake continue to assure me of Thy free and full forgiveness for my failure to perfectly keep Thy commandments. And through Thy Holy Spirit, working powerfully through Thy Gospel, kindle increased love toward Thee and toward my neighbor, in gratitude for Thy great, changeless love toward me and toward the whole world of sinners in the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus. Amen.
“Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways, to keep His statutes still!
Oh, that my God would grant me grace, to know and do His will!
Make me to walk in Thy commands, ’tis a delightful road,
nor let my head or heart or hands, offend, against my God.”
(TLH) – Hymn 416, 1, 4