Paul is wrapping up his instructions. He just finished speaking to us regarding authorities over us (vertical relationships) and now he addresses interactions among us (horizontal relationships).
All during Paul’s letter he made it clear that we were not under the law and didn’t have to adhere to it for our salvation. But he also made clear that because of our love for Jesus, that we should follow the commandments of God.
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was He gave two: 1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind; 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. Paul reiterates Jesus’ second commandment as the code of conduct for all Christians.
If you love someone you won’t steal from them, murder them, be jealous of them, or hurt them in any way. I know it is a little early but let’s read Paul’s most famous characterization of just what love is. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). This attitude fulfills ALL the commandments and breaks NO laws.
Paul believes there is no time to lose in adopting this attitude for your life as he expects Jesus to be returning soon! He counts time as short. This far into history we recognize that Paul’s expectation was a little premature but not unwarranted. None of us know when our time will end. Each of us will be called to account for how we spent our lives. I would much rather account for the love I showed than the hate. I’m certain my slate will hold some of both. I have to turn the latter moments over to Jesus and pray for forgiveness.
Paul also recognizes that WE won’t always demonstrate love at all times. So he gives us the solution to that problem. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provisions for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (verse 14). Giving our life to Jesus and letting Him work in us is the ONLY way to truly show love; honest love.
Father God thank You for Your mercy and grace when I fail to show love. Thank You that Jesus’ blood covers those times of hate I have displayed in my life. THANK YOU that there are less and less times of “hate” in my life too. You brought this about. You have given me a different heart than what I started out with. THANK YOU!!!!
Please keep working on my heart though Father because it is FAR from perfect. Teach me every day more about You and Your love. Help me model Jesus’ love. A love that loved the sinner and not the sin. A love that is unconditional but is not afraid to redirect those He loves from their sin. A love that is patient and kind in spite of what it may receive in return. Thank You Jesus for being my example and my ever present help in learning to love like You.