The commandments, Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not covet; and any other commandment, are summed up by this commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Romans 13:9)
“Who is my neighbor?” Martin Luther, the German reformer writes that “every man is his neighbor” even including those who “done [him] wrong” or hurt [him] by any manner of way.” In today’s passage, Paul writes that all of God’s commandments in Scripture can be summarized with the following simple commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18).
Although we are not saved by good works but rather by God’s grace, good works such as loving our neighbors are the result or fruit of a living and active faith (James 2:26). The New Testament pulls no punches when describing self-proclaimed Christians who do not love others. They are described to be “walking in darkness” (I John 2:11), as “liars” (I John 4:10), as a “noisy gong” and as “nothing” (I Corinthians 13:1-2). Ouch. Why does the Bible emphasize that we love others?
We are to love others because Jesus first loved us (I John 4:19). While we were still sinners and enemies of God, he willingly humbled himself, died the death that we deserved, and became the atoning sacrifice for our sins. There is no greater example of love than that and it should motivate us to love one another! (I John 4:11) Today, as God’s image bearers and ambassadors, let us reflect the love that he has graciously shown us to all our neighbors we come across, friends, enemies, and strangers alike.