Monday, January 26, 2009

Simple Rule #1

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
Matthew 22:35-40, ESV)

Last week, the girls and I read the verses above and J.C. Ryle’s comments in his book Expository Thoughts on Matthew. Ryle reflects on the importance of these verses:

How simple are these two rules, and yet how comprehensive! How soon the words are repeated, and yet how much they contain! How humbling and condemning they are! How much they prove our daily need of mercy and the precious blood of atonement! Happy would it be for the world if these rules were more known and more practised.

I agree! So rather than overwhelm you with Ryle’s comments on the whole passage, I thought I would split this up into 2 posts. Today, we will focus on Love for God. Tomorrow I will post his comments on Love for others.

Love is the grand secret of true obedience to God. When we feel towards Him as children feel towards a dear father, we shall delight to do His will: we shall not find His commandments grievous, or work for Him like slaves under fear of the lash; we shall take pleasure in trying to keep His laws, and mourn when we transgress them. None work so well as they who work for love: the fear of punishment, or the desire of reward, are principles of far less power. They do the will of God best who do it from the heart. Would we train children right? Let us teach them to love God.

But how shall we obtain this love towards God? It is no natural feeling. We are "born in sin," and as sinners, are afraid of Him: how then can we love Him? We can never really love Him till we are at peace with Him through Christ. When we feel our sins forgiven, and ourselves reconciled to our holy Maker, then, and not till then, we shall love Him and have the Spirit of adoption. Faith in Christ is the true spring of love to God: they love most who feel most forgiven. "We love Him because He first loved us." (1John 4:19)

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