The spiritual song’s refrain said it well. “They’ll know we are Christians by our love….”
As a youngster, I used to enjoy singing this song. It would fill me with hope, confidence, and joy. And when I would see an often loveless and sin-filled world, I would wonder where all the Christians had gone. Perhaps you have felt the same.
As I have aged, I have learned something that I consider very important. It is that people often behave with love-less and even selfishness ways. Does this mean the world’s Christians are a figment of an over-active imagination? Or that professed Christians are liars? I don’t think so.
The very worldly penchant for sin, selfishness, and pride-filled action reinforces something very important to me. It is that Christians are not perfect—they are forgiven!
That being said, we can look at this new commandment that Jesus gave and learn something very important about God’s grace and mercy in Jesus Christ. It is that God supplies in Jesus Christ what we are incapable and unwilling to do and be. Jesus walked the walk where we would not. He did what we could never do. Jesus gave His life as ransom for sinners, so that we could escape God’s wrath and the impending punishment in hell.
So, what remains for us to do or be? NOTHING, and EVERYTHING!
There is “NOTHING” remaining for us to do or be for our salvation because Jesus Christ has won it for us; and it is in that act of grace that God offers us full and free forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ. “EVERYTHING” remains, because not one “jot or tittle” will be removed from God’s expectations for us. Our God continues to demand perfect obedience; but now we can find hope despite our failure. We have Jesus!
This brings me to another favorite spiritual song –
Amazing grace—how sweet the sound—
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see! (Lutheran Service Book, #744:1)
Jesus said: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Let us pray: You have given us a new commandment, Lord Jesus, to love each other as You have loved us. Give us Your Spirit that we may obey You and love each other. In Your name we pray. Amen.