Dangerous Places – a new series

This post will be the first in a new series of ChurchSalt posts.  I am not sure how long we will go with this series (I am planning on initially publishing one a week), but I think they will prove to be helpful for many folks out there.   This series is called “Dangerous Places” and the idea is this:  Each post will take one idea or teaching common in today’s Christian culture and preaching, and simply compare that idea to a passage in Scripture.  Each post will be short, to the point, and hopefully thought-provoking.  So, without further delay, here is the first post…



Question: Do you feel as the statement, “Love God and Love others” is a good, simple summary of what Christianity is all about?

Please take a moment now to think of your answer before proceeding.

Ready?             Let’s continue…

Jesus Himself discussed this very idea in Matthew:

“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.   And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “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.” – Matthew 22:34-40 (ESV)

Did you notice something interesting in this passage?  The teaching “love God, love others” is a summary of the Law.  It is a summary of the Law of Moses, or the Ten Commandments.  This is a big deal!  If you are wondering why this fact is such a big deal, look at what Paul teaches us in the book of Romans:

“For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” – Romans 3:20 (ESV)

Or, if you would like it worded a little more clearly, read the same passage in a different translation:

“For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” – Romans 3:20 (NLT)

In other words, “Love God, Love others” is NOT  a summary of Christianity, but instead of the Law… which never save anybody!!  So if you answered “Yes” when asked if you thought “Love God, Love others” is a summary of Christianity, then that might mean you are trusting in obedience to the Law to save you, when Paul clearly teaches us that nobody is saved though obedience (because we have all already sinned).  Answering “yes” indicates you are confusing Law with Gospel.  A good summary of Christianity is the Cross.  That is where our Lord atoned for our sins, and where we are set free from condemnation and sin.  In short, if you answered “yes”, you are in a very, very dangerous place!!

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4 Comments on “Dangerous Places – a new series”

  1. Eliza Says:

    Love is the defining quality of all who are born again by repentant faith in Jesus Christ and we are commanded by Jesus Christ, as His beloved brethren, to love God and love one another. Our love flows from the new nature that we have in Christ Jesus. As Paul said, Love is the fulfillment of the law.

    8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10

    So yes, love is what defines us as believers, because we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. God bless you:)

    Reply

  2. dmattice Says:

    You tricked me…..i totally went for it. I have always thought of this verse as being the description of what Christianity is all about, loving God and loving others. It didn’t even occur to me that the gospel was not being preached here, but the summation of the law and prophets. of course, i could see the summation here, but i have always applied this greatest commandment to be what living for Christ meant, which was what i believed Christianity was all about. wait, it is about follwoing Christ, but salvation is about the gospel of Jesus Christ, that we cannot earn our salvation by following Christ, but following Christ is our response to Him saving us through His grace. so, if by Christianity, you mean following Christ, then yes, love the Lord your God with all your heart, etc, and love your neighbor as yourself does sum it up, as that is how to follow Christ. but, if by Christianity you mean salvation, then no, we are only saved by what Jesus has done on the cross for our sins and not by how we live our lives. some people view Christianity as a religion to follow. believers see faith as a gift from God to salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord, and respond by loving God and others.

    Reply

    • ChurchSalt Says:

      Hey Dee,
      I agree completely. What a Christian’s life is to look like is they love God and love others, but loving God and others isn’t what made them a Christian. There is a very important difference in the two statements, and one that is being blurred by an awful lot of teachers and churches out there these days.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

      -Joe

      Reply

  3. revivalandreformation Says:

    Did you write this? Just kidding! Nice job yet again, don’t mind if I repost? You can come over and we can discuss it if you do.

    Reply

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