This is the ninth part in a twelve part devotional commentary on “O Holy Night.” See the introduction here.
Truly He taught us To love one another;
His law is love And His gospel is peace.
God the Father did not send the Son simply to die for our sins and then abandon us to continue to live in disobedience to Him. Nor does He now expect us to live perfectly, though we have a perfect example in His Son. We are called to work out our salvation with fear and trembling by the power of the Holy Spirit in such a way as to radiate the grace of His love throughout our lives.
I think the next four segments of O Holy Night give us four responses to the Evangel. Here we see the first; what Jesus referred to as the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus demonstrated His love for us by laying His life down for us, and we are called to do likewise for others. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Eph 5:1-2) The law He has given us for the new covenant is love- love that reflects the peace the gospel brings between God and man.
This commandment was given another way in the Gospel According to John: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) Jesus issued a standard by which all people can judge whether or not we follow Jesus; whether or not we are truly Christians. If we do not show love for one another, the world has a right to judge that we are not believers.
Jesus took this a step further in His high priestly prayer in John 17:20-21. He prayed that his disciples “may all be one, just as you Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Francis Schaeffer referred to this unity demonstrated through love as the “final apologetic.” How we live to some degree determines what believe about Jesus. If we truly live in the unity God has exemplified for us, the gospel will be advanced throughout the world. Indeed He has taught us to love one another, and more than that, He has given us the means and motivation to do so.