We humans have a tendency to take something good, and twist it and turn it into something it should not be. I am concerned to see a trend in some churches today which emphasizes wholeheartedly the scriptural directive to love our neighbor as ourselves. The concerning thing is not this teaching. Quite the contrary – if this was taught in balance with the rest of scripture, it would be excellent! But what I see is the emphasis being put on loving people, more than on loving God. Often church denomination and the wonderful people in the denomination become the primary focus of the worshipers. Take this and combine it with a strong trend to discount portions of scripture and question the absolute, inerrant authority of the Bible, and I am deeply concerned.
It is possible that you have not encountered churches, denominations, or Christian universities that are no longer holding to the truth of God’s word. I hope for your sake and the church’s health as a whole, that this is the case. I, however, have seen many such Christian training grounds going the way of intellectuality, rather than solid faith in the Word of God. If you have not seen this first hand, you need to be on guard. You need to be in the word. You need to hold firmly to the truth of the Bible, so that you will not be led astray by false teaching. Heresy is abundant in our day and age, and very insidious because it is infiltrating Christian universities, churches, and denominations. Those willing to stand strongly against it are difficult to find. Perhaps if each of us nurtures a deep love for the scriptures, we ourselves will be well equipped to stand for truth.
If we say we love God, but do not believe His word to be inspired and inerrant, how can we really claim to love Him? I hold that it is not possible to love God and not believe His word in it’s entirety. We are saved by faith.
Let’s consider for a moment Luke 10’s accounting of a lawyer asking Jesus how to be saved, “25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
Jesus tells the lawyer that he has properly considered and summed up the law, and that it is important for him to love both God with all his heart, soul, and strength; and love his neighbor as himself.
Let’s now look at Deuteronomy 6:4-8 where the law is given. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
The Bible is clear. We are to love the Lord most! It says to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, and all our might. How can we possibly claim to love Him this fully if we don’t even believe in the fundamental basis of our faith, that God’s word is Truth and that God’s word is the ultimate authority. So many churches today have walked away from this truth, and yet are still focusing on the love your neighbor portions of scripture.
Most people like the warm fuzzy feelings that accompany the ideas that God loves us immensely. The majority of people embrace the cozy emotions and well-being that come from loving others around us. It’s mankind’s stubborn, arrogant, independent streak that often baulks at the concept of God being sovereign in our lives. Worshiping the God of the Bible fully, requires humility. Admitting we need a savior is not easy for everyone to do. Then try getting the majority of people to believe the Bible is correct, when it talks about difficult concepts such as Hell, and personal accountability. Some preachers and teachers find it easier to simply tickle our ears. Some begin to question truth themselves. Others may be intentionally leading the faithful away from the Word of God.
Actually, any Bible teacher who understands the truth of the Bible and worships God, would have to declare it. Eternal life is at stake! If they are not teaching absolute faith in God’s word, you can safely assume they themselves are having doubts. Some even question the validity of scripture. This usually starts subtly, then grows, often with terrifying speed once it is unchecked. Faith is crucial. God doesn’t call us to academically analyze His work on our behalf, but to embrace His atonement through faith in His son Jesus. Once you allow yourself to question the validity of the Bible, you are on a slippery slope. If you can discount one thing, regardless how small, you can toss absolutely anything out. Human reason becomes more determinant that Biblical teaching. You begin to follow a man’s teaching rather than God’s.
Joshua 22:5 “But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the
servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all
his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him
with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Let’s cleave with all our heart to our first love, to God! Let’s walk in His ways, not be led astray by man’s! Choose you this day whom you will serve! As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!
Yes, love your neighbor as yourself, but never let your faith walk away from the truth of the Bible. Never cling more closely to your love for your neighbor than your love to your Lord. If you love God, you will love God’s word. When the scriptures make you uncomfortable, watch that you are humble enough to recognize your need for change. It is human to error, but God never fails! He is perfect in holiness! When we don’t align with scripture, it’s us who needs to move every time!
Hebrew 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
I want to let God work in my life and let His word convict and speak to me. His love for us is vast and He has our best interest at heart! Let’s honor our Lord first, and then the love and kindness we show our neighbor will benefit the kingdom of God, as He intends it to!
I am so thankful that God loves us enough to provide us with His holy word!