Thursday, April 02, 2009

The command to love vs. the law of love

This past weekend at the Radical Sonship Conference in Atlanta, Steve McVey asked a question that went something like, "Do you know what the most legalistic teaching in the church is?" I mean, if you were to survey all the legalistic stuff you've ever been taught, which do you think would be the most legalistic? Well, Steve went on to talk about the man who came up to Jesus and asked Him what the greatest commandment in the law is. Jesus, of course, replied that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind.

And so there you have it. The greatest LAW is to love God more. Therefore the greatest LEGAListic teaching in the church is teaching people to love God more. We can teach people that they're supposed to love God more, but there is simply no power to be found in a law, rule or principle to actually do it!

About a year and a half ago I drove past one of those "-God" billboards.

That 'Love Thy Neighbor' Thing... I meant that.

Well of course He meant it. After all, it's the second greatest commandment! But to teach it as a Christian principle or rule, just as with the greatest commandment, is to miss the point entirely!!!

The command to love is bondage, as is any and all of God's law. But the "royal law of love" is something that is fulfilled, not as we look to commandments, but as we abide in the Vine and as we submit ourselves not to our own attempts at loving others, but to God's very life that we've been made alive to!

I ended up writing a series of five posts in July 2007, based upon what I saw on that billboard, and building up to the impossibility and futility of trying to keep the commands to love. I essentially took four posts to show how our attempts at keeping the commands don't work, and then in the final post I made my point that it's all about a "Who," not a "how," when it comes to loving God and loving people. My next post will be a repost of the final post in that series.


  1. That is so incredible, Joel! Thanks for really stirred me.

  2. That's cool, Tracy. Thank you for sharing that it stirred you.