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Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, LORD’S DAY 34

What does the Lord say in his law?

The Catechism lists the 10 commandments as it’s answer. They can be found in the Old Testament, in either Exodus 20:1-17 or Deuteronomy 5:6-21.

How are these commandments divided?

Into two tables. The first has four commandments, teaching us what our relation to God should be. The second has six commandments, teaching us what we owe our neighbor.

 

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Saturday, July 29: Ephesians 5:1-2

The law reveals God’s character of grace, His purpose of restoration, and His gift of reconciliation – all rooted in the gospel of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. It reveals, therefore, both His work in us and His work through us. The Catechism underscores this truth when it declares that commandments 5-10 teach “us what we owe our neighbor” – to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Jesus’s words assume that we are joyful recipients of his restoring and reconciling grace. The Apostle Paul, then, reminds us that what is received is to be shared. So, we must ask whether what is flowing into us is also flowing through us. Are we sharing the life of love we have received? Are we faithful imitators who, “as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God,” serve as agents of God’s grace, restoration and reconciliation? The principle is abundantly clear, and our practice should be just as obvious. Are we willing to graciously extend forgiveness to those who refuse to repent for wrongs that may have been committed against us? Are we willing to sacrifice our own “worship style” for the sake of the larger Christian family? Are we willing to be an advocate for the refugee or immigrant in a politicized culture of hate? Will you be a voice for the dignity and value of children, unborn or born, abused by a culture of abortion, merciless sex trafficking, or legalized gender neutrality? I think you get the point. Our discipleship is incomplete if the gospel love we have received is not generously and evangelistically shared. After all, how will people hear if no one speaks and advocates gospel grace (Romans 10:14-15)? Let’s each ask ourselves a very simple question: “Do our minds, wills and emotions reveal a commitment to bring grace, restoration and reconciliation to others?” Our lifestyle, not our words, will be the most honest answer to that question.

Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn