“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28,30-31
Jesus in no way ever downplayed or downgraded the law of God.
It is convenient to some that the fact that Christ has paid for the sin in the life of the believer and so is regarded by God as holy. We are justified by the shed blood of Jesus our Saviour and are freely forgiven from all sin. The actual sins are forgiven, paid for and gone, and also the power of sin in the life of the believer is broken. But we extend that truth into wrong territory. Sin still has influence on us as Christians and there is a perpetual fight as we live in this sinful world. We cannot ignore our personal sinfulness or get used to the wrong desires we still have.
Holiness is a daily desire in the heart and soul of the Christian. We seek to be like Christ our perfect Lord and our life is a continual activity of cleansing. It is a fight. Ephesians chapter 6 tells us to prepare for the fight and put on the full armour of God.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11
This passage speaks of rampant spiritual enemies in heavenly places. We must fortify our wayward hearts against these forces, which are too strong for us to resist.
It is human to want know what commandment is the one we really have to obey. If we have to choose one, which is the most important. The effect of our fallen state before God is seen in all our attitudes and desires. Jesus answers the question fully and deeply.
We love God with all that we are. We adore His being from the very depths of our being. Our desire for Him, His presence and His person, is our chief longing. We love His closeness and His Word is always on our tongue. This is also a mark of a true believer, as an unbelieving person with no faith, does not have such desires.
Because we are Christians, our souls are now alive to God. We are aware of His presence in our lives and we want to be holy, for He is holy. The dead soul does not want this. Our soul is the part of us that relates to God and the part of us that can fully reflect His image, since we are made in His image. The soul is the deepest part of our sentient beings, and is capable of understanding and loving God with His own love. The spiritual life of the soul is imputed to us when we repent of our sinful selves and exercise faith in The Lord Jesus Christ and the complete salvation He bought for us on the Cross of Calvary.
A Christian is someone with a renewed mind. It does not dwell on evil, but is renewed every day in the Word of God and prayers. It is a mind taken up with serving God and thinking of ways to serve and witness for Him. It is an active mind that reads and thinks and deeply appreciates the things of God. The redeemed mind thinks God’s thoughts, and is wise in the wisdom of the Holy Scriptures. The Christian prays that the mind of Christ will be replicated in their own mind and that the mind will be changed to operate with the whole being to worship, commune and serve.
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15
Physical strength as well as intellectual and emotional strength is the hallmark of the Christian servant. The effort of our body activity reflects our devotion as well as the spiritual activities. Tiredness is debilitating but we can overcome it in the power of God. God will renew us every day and give the rest we need to do our tasks. The body is not yet made new for the heavenly kingdom, but all our power is exerted for the glory of God.
“But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not to despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed; always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
If we put God first then the other things will follow. If we live in devotion and in the power of God, daily confessing our sins, then our attitude to other people will be right also.
“Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
We do not downplay the law of God, but fully uphold the commandments and strive for holiness in our lives, that will be seen by others who are seeking God too. This promotes Christian fellowship as we see the likeness of the Father in each other.