Today’s reading: Deut 5:1–6:25, 2 Cor 2:1–11, Ps 33:1–22
Today’s theme: The greatest commandment
Today we revisit the greatest commandment which is to love God above all and love others in the way we desire to be loved. This should be the governing principle of our lives as believers. It is only though love that firm and true discipline and reconciliation can work in the church community.
A sign commandment
You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. Deuteronomy 5:15 (ESV)
The reason given for the keeping of the Sabbath day is different here than the account in Exodus 20:8-11. In this case the Lord connects the keeping of this commandment to the redemption of the people of Israel from Egypt. This is still connected to the Exodus account and with the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, a new nation was born / created.
This is what is sometimes called a sign commandment which is related to a specific covenant. In this case it is the Mosaic covenant which has been superseded by Jesus Christ. We still keep this command in principle because our reasoning is the same. We remember the Lord’s day (1st day of the week) because it commemorates His resurrection and our redemption, being a new creation in Christ and entering God’s rest.
The greatest commandment
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5 (ESV)
Jesus is the greatest commentator on this command. He tells us that this is the greatest and most important commandment of all in Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27. To love and serve God is one of the very reasons we were created.
2 Corinthians 2:1–11
Firm and true forgiveness
So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 2 Corinthians 2:8 (ESV)
Paul was encouraging the church to walk in love even in their discipline of one of their members who had sinned but then repented. This is in line with Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness in Luke 17:3–4, Matthew 18:15–18 and John 20:22.
Our forgiveness does not ignore or excuse sin, it acknowledges the sin and the repentance of the sinner. It grants pardon and restores relationship. An important distinction is that a position may not necessarily be restored. In many cases a relationship may be restored while a position (say in church leadership) is forfeited.
Love, or sword and shield
so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. 2 Corinthians 2:11 (ESV)
The ultimate weapon against Satan’s plans to destroy God’s people is love. We need to be loving enough to enforce church discipline (1 Corinthians 5:1-5) at the same time as being loving enough to extend forgiveness and reconciliation. This is the best offence and defence against Satan’s schemes which include pride, division, discouragement, casual sin and false confidence.
God’s love is steadfast
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, Psalm 33:18 (ESV)
A theme in all of today’s readings is the love of God. We can hope in God’s steadfast and faithful love and kindness. Because we know who God is, we can place all our hope in Him.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on 2 Corinthians 2
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