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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

May 13, 2016

"But do not have love"

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

In his epistle to the church in Corinth the apostle Paul emphasized how important true love is in a Christian's life. In 1 Corinthians 13 he says: If I could tell the future, knew all mysteries, had great faith to move mountains, distributed my wealth to others, but did not have love, then all those things would not benefit me.

Jesus tells us that the greatest commandments are to love God and our neighbor. And the apostle John tells us in 1. John 4, verse 8 that God Himself is love. Of course, the love referred to here in these verses is the agape love.

A scribe once asked Jesus who our neighbor is. Jesus answered him with the parable of the good Samaritan, showing that our neighbor means more than just our brethren in the faith. Our neighbor can be anyone who needs our help.

We see this clearly in Matthew 25, where the good shepherd, Jesus, separates the sheep from the goats. To the sheep on his right He says: "Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me" (Matthew 25:34-36).

Then the righteous ask Him: "When did we do those things?" Jesus answer is: "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me" (verse 40). Whatever was done to those who are least is considered to have been in service to Christ.

To the goats on His left Jesus says: "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (verse 41) Verses 42-43 show that the goats did not help their fellow man, and thereby they did not serve Him.

Those are interesting statements! When we help those who need help – whether they are brethren or not – it is reckoned as if we had served Christ directly. And when we are able to help the needy (Proverbs 3:27-28) but do not do so, it is as if we denied assistance to Christ Himself.

When we read this, it becomes clear that if we are to enter into life, then we are expected to do more than keeping the commandments, attending services on the Sabbath and Holy Days and participating in sharing the gospel.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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