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Loving Your Neighbor

Paul answers a good question:

Hi Marina (and all),

You ask about Galatians 5:14:

“For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:14 MKJV).

“Does it mean that if the second command is fulfilled, the first one is automatically fulfilled too? And vice-versa?”

We would say that the Second Commandment is fulfilled because the First Commandment has been fulfilled. After all, doesn’t everything hinge on loving God with all our hearts and having no other gods before Him?

Mark 12:28-31 MKJV
(28) And coming up one of the scribes heard them reasoning, knowing that He had answered them well, he asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”
(29) And Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord;
(30) and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
(31) And the second is like this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

You can see in Galatians that Paul is speaking to fellow believers. In the verse previous to the one you asked about, he says:

“For, brothers, you were called to liberty. Only do not use the liberty for an opening to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 MKJV).

In another place he says to them:

“This only I would learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the Law, or by hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, do you now perfect yourself in the flesh?” (Galatians 3:2-3 MKJV)

Now we know that those who love (obey) God (by His grace) receive His Spirit. So Paul is exhorting his brothers to walk in the Spirit, serving one another in the love of God.

Romans 8:12-14 MKJV
(12) Therefore, brothers, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
(13) For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die. But if you through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.
(14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

We need to be diligent to follow through on what God has given us, and He will take us all the way.

1 John 4:7-11 MKJV
(7) Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves has been born of God, and knows God.
(8) The one who does not love has not known God. For God is love.
(9) In this the love of God was revealed in us, because God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him.
(10) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation concerning our sins.
(11) Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

God teaches us how to love Him and one another by faith, but in the realm of the new creation in Christ, not in the flesh. The flesh can’t love God and the new creature in Christ can’t but love God. Our job is to trust Him by doing our part, whatever He gives each of us for today.

If you worship God, you’ll obey His Commandments. If you obey His Commandments, you’ll find yourself loving your neighbor as yourself. And love has nothing to do with emotion. It is a matter of desire, motive, and will.

Paul Cohen

– September 7, 2014

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