Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 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.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no greater commandment than these.” Mark 12:29-31 (NASB)
The Bible is filled with hundreds of commandments and guidelines, which could seem overwhelming. However, the key commandments can be found in these words spoken by Jesus. To love God and to love one’s neighbor are the greatest and second greatest commandments.
These commandments are positive: they are not prohibitions. Rather than set boundaries, they establish directions. They are progressive–never completed. When have you finished loving? It can be argued that all the other commandments are simply commentary on these two (Matt. 22:40). The commands of God give definition to what it is to love Him and our neighbor. To disobey any of the commands is to fail to love.
Echoing Jesus’ teaching, the apostle Paul writes: “For this, ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,’ and if there is another commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” Romans 13:9 (NASB).
The people of the world need to se our Christianity demonstrated, not by lengthy and detailed explanations of our beliefs, but by our love.
“Haven’t you read the Scriptures? They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no man split apart what God has joined together.”
Matthew 19:4-6 (NLT)