“This commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should also love his brother.”
This teaching is not just a Christian ideal that we should be working towards, but a holy commandment from the Lord. It is intrinsically bound up with our justification and sanctification as Christian people. We are justified through the love and grace of the Lord and are made part of the family of God freely, so also we make others part of our lives and share with them the practicalities of living and the blessings of the Word of God. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us, so also we are willing to make that same sacrifice for each other as children of the heavenly kingdom. God has freely forgiven us all our rottenness and we also forgive others freely through the power of the Holy Spirit who works in us.
Our sanctification will necessarily require that we become like our Lord and God and conform our ways to His ways. We therefore put self to death and throw off every hindrance that would separate us from loving the sisters and brothers and subjugate the powers of evil in our psyche, becoming the people of God, after His heart and mind. We pursue personal holiness which will demonstrate love at the centre of its practice as we are deepened in the knowledge of the Scripture and the love of God. Our prayers will be natural and in full communion with the Lord, since we are walking with Him. Our prayers will be greatly intercessory as we pray for the sisters and brothers that they will be greatly helped and will enter the love of God in their daily walk with Him.
“I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and givings of thanks be made for all men…”
1 Timothy 2:1
Our thought life will change as we obey the command to love and we will be less and less concerned about ourselves and more and more for the good of others. We will offer practical help and also prayer to the Father as we minister to the body of Christ in this spiritual way. Our reasons for doing things will change as we become more outward looking and concerned about the situations of other people. We will help and support others because the Lord would have us do so, which will improve our motivations and desires and separate our lives to godliness.
“In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate to one another; in honor prefer one another, not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, enduring in troubles, continuing steadfastly in prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, and given to hospitality.”
Our outward looking gifts will grow and our confidence in the Lord, so that we will better relate to other people and have peaceable relationships with them. We will find our love growing and better able to reach out to others in compassion and help. The commandment is set and so we are confident that God will give us the grace to keep it and therefore please the Lord.