“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 NKJV
Sometimes I think that one of the most difficult things for the body of Christ is to accept one another. As Christians, we believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ but we may come from different denominations. Some of us believe in the use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit but some of us believe that these gifts are meant for the early church. Some Christians believe in the sprinkling of water in a baptismal service but others prefer water immersion, so on and so forth. Oftentimes, differences occur within the same denomination. In fact, it is not uncommon to hear of disagreements within a church itself. I have even heard of heated arguments among church leaders which resulted in them hurling Bibles at each other across the aisle.
You and I might know of two or more groups of people in our church who become upset with each other over different view points. While they may not be violent and while we might not have joined them in the disagreements, at some level we might have become legalistic in the way we treat the body of Christ.
It amazes me how the Holy Spirit reveals to us the gems in Jesus’ teachings - God‘s plan of the cross to save and help us is timeless. When Jesus said that we are to love one another as He loved us, he revealed the measure by which we will love each other - the key to loving one another is when each believer knows how much Jesus loved, forgave and accepted him on the cross. Ephesians 4:32 says that we forgive even as God forgave us in Christ. If we do not know how much we fall short in view of God’s holiness, then we will not know how to accept each other with the same unconditional and unfailing love. Praise God because Jesus showed us His way to love one another and be united in Him. When we unite in spite of our differences, the world may believe Jesus is the Son of God. (John 17:21)
Father, we are sometimes so hard-hearted when we forget how much we have been forgiven. You gave us Jesus to fulfil the law but we forget Your grace and have become legalistic. Help us to be established in Your grace this day because You hate legalism and self-righteousness, and Jesus is full of grace. Help us to love the body of Christ across denominations as You promised when You showed us Your way. In Jesus’ name amen.
Finally, think about how we may fulfil the new commandment - do you think we should take on this commandment as something we should fulfil? Or do you think it comes naturally when we know daily how much God loved us in Christ?
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