Many Christians today claim that we don’t need to observe any of God’s commandments in the Old Testament anymore because we are no longer under the Law but under grace; and that Jesus gave us a NEW commandment to love one another. (John 13:34)

Interestingly, when asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus simply quoted the commandments already found in Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5. When Jesus spoke these words, his words were not revolutionary or new. They were merely confirmation of what was already revealed in the Torah. (The only Bible people had in the first century). 

So why did Jesus say that he was giving a new commandment? Perhaps in the first century, just like today, people had been ignoring the greatest commandment of the Scriptures?  

Jewish sages Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Hillel both taught that loving one’s neighbor was of primary importance. Hillel was famous for saying, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to another. That is the whole Law. The rest is commentary. Now go and learn.” 

Jesus was part of a faith system based on the Tanakh (OT) that encouraged study, debate and practice of one’s faith. Jesus never rejected the teachings of the Scriptures.  And neither did the apostles or the early Church. Rather, they all sought to encourage those around them to understand the truths of God’s Word and incorporate them in daily life. 

Jewish people teach that there are 613 commandments given by God. Exodus 20 lists only 10 commandments to live by. But most fail to obey most (or any) of them. Jesus gave us only two commandments: To love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And to love one another as he loves us. (Matthew 22:37-40) But sadly, most Christians today refuse to even obey those two! The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 6:15: “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? Certainly not!”

Today we are under a deluge of hate, racism and violence; and we are told that this is the “new normal”. This is NOT the new normal! This is not normal at all! And this is not God’s will for us. So how do we return to normal?

God answers that when He said, “If I close the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send a plague among My people, and if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wickedness, THEN I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14) God has been waiting for generations for His people to do just that, but they refuse.

Remember the words of Jesus: 

“But understand this: If the homeowner had known in which watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. For this reason, you must also be ready, because the Son of man will come at an hour you do not expect….”  (Matthew 24:36-51)

The apostle John wrote: “By this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome…” (1 John 5:2-3)

If people can’t tell the difference between how you act, speak and live and how unbelievers act, speak and live, then why would anyone have a desire to know God? 

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