It is interesting to see how Jesus lived in relation to “the church”. He didn’t seem to institute anything. What he did do was remove all the law, every commandment, every rule, and then He replaced them in John 13:35 with “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; according as I did love you, that you also love one another”.
- Go to church every Sunday
- Read your bible every day
- Pray before every meal
- Talk to your neighbor about Jesus
- Give 10% to the poor/church/needy
- Etc., etc….
That is kind of what I’ve been seeing with what is now promised. I do not see love as being an action anymore. I’ve always been told that love is doing what you should for a person no matter how you feel about them. That is not love but duty. Sure there is value in duty, but that is the law, not the love Jesus commanded.
I never thought to look at the definition of love to prove that, but here it is: “to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly”. You cannot do a duty dearly. You can be fond of a duty, but He wants us to be fond of people.
Back to the commands I said I don’t see, when you love someone, those things and more will flow abundantly out, much more than any rule could accomplish.
- Go to church every Sunday – instead you will be with others daily (Act 2:46)
- Read your bible every day – you will continue in His word (Act 17:11)
- Pray before every meal – you will eat in thanksgiving to the Father (Rom 14:6)
- Talk to your neighbor about Jesus – You won’t be able to hide the light shining (Mat 5:14)
- Give 10% to the poor/church/needy – You will give 100% if needed, no one will lack (Act 4:34)
The rules actually tie our hands to the full potential of God’s love! The institution puts bounds on and limits what we can see as love. What happens too is that the actions get negated because they lack love( 1Cr 13:1-3), without love it is nothing.
I think the early disciples knew this and that is why the book of Acts looks so different. Instead of building each other up in love, we focus on the rules and build each other up in performance, and then we become nothing without the love. Build up love, and the performance will take care of itself.
And since God is love, guess who is actually taking care of the performance… yep, God. That is why we go beyond the law when we live in love for one another, because God is doing it. We cannot accomplish the law. We cannot go beyond the rules by ourselves, without love, because then we are trying to do it without God. Only God can get us there.