Which is the greatest commandment in the Bible?
The first four commandments set out our duty to God, while the latter six set out our duty to man.
Jesus sums them up in this way: “‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first comandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mk 12:30-31)
“On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Mt 22:40). Apostle Paul adds, “Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom 13:10).
What is our responsibility in relation to God’s commandments?
The Bible states that those who believe in Jesus are justified and saved by grace, and not by works of the law (Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8). However, this is not a licence for us to do as we please.
Paul says, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” (Rom 6:15); “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” (Rom 3:31).
How do we, as Christians living under grace, establish the law? We do it by implementing God’s timeless moral laws, which are the Ten Commandments. They set out our basic duties towards God and man. We can take heart from the fact that they are not burdensome, especially as God has given us His Holy Spirit to help us. The natural outcome is “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom 8:4).
Hence, the Bible reminds us to uphold the “perfect law of liberty” (Jas 1:25) and to “fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself'” (Jas 2:8).
Today, true believers are able to keep God’s commandments because they are etched into our hearts by the indwelling Holy Spirit (Jer 31:33; cf. Heb 8:10).
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