There are many laws in the Bible. There is the Law of Moses and the Law of God. There is the law of sin and the law of faith. There is the law of righteousness and the law of liberty. But what is the law of Christ?
If you don’t know the law of Christ – and many people don’t – you’ll be susceptible to those who preach law.
“The law of Christ is the Biblical law. It’s loving the Lord your God with all your heart.”
No, no, no.
The Law of Moses and the Ten Commandments are not the Law of Christ. This is:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (John 13:34)
Jesus did not come to give us an old law but a new one, and a life-giving one at that. The law of Christ is love one another, as I have loved you.
I’m sure you have read this commandment before, but do you realize what it means?
“It means I’m supposed to be a good Christian and love other people as I love myself.”
No, that’s not what it means. To love your neighbor as yourself is the royal law of the old covenant. It’s an old commandment but Jesus is preaching a new commandment.
A new commandment
What is the law of Christ? The law of Christ is both a new law and a new kind of law. It’s a new law for a new creation. What is new about it? These five words:
…as I have loved you.
Under the old, you loved others as yourself and if you didn’t have it in you to love others, perhaps because they hurt you, then you were a lawbreaker. But in the new, we receive the love of God and out of the overflow of that love we are empowered to love others.
See the difference?
Under the old, you provided the love, but in the new God supplies all our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Love one another
The Apostle John was familiar with the Law of Christ:
This is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. (1 John 3:11)
John heard the message from Jesus. He called it “his commandment” (1 John 3:23) or a “new commandment” (1 John 2:8). We don’t love one another to become the children of God; we love because we are the children of the God-who-is-love (1 John 4:8). As we receive our Father’s unqualified love, are we able to love others with the same abandon.
How do we love one another? Not through empty chatter and Facebook likes, but by caring and carrying each other in our troubles:
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
Because Jesus carries you, you can carry others. Because Christ is with you in your trial, you can be with others in theirs. Because Christ has forgiven you, you can forgive others.
As Christ loved you
If you have been in church for any length of time, you have probably be told to love your neighbor as yourself. This command may even be hanging on your wall. If so, take it down immediately.
The command to love others as you love yourself is a death-dealing dictate. It will either feed your pride (look how loving I am!) or minister condemnation (I can’t love that sinner).
If you’ve been badly hurt, you will know how unreasonable it is to be told to love and forgive the one who hurt you. You’ll try to forgive them, but some things are just too hard.
There is a better way. Bring the broken pieces of your heart to Jesus and let him heal you. Tell him how bad it hurts. Receive his unconditional love and find rest in his arms.
Then as you begin your journey back to wholeness, pray for the one who hurt you. If you have no words to say, allow the Spirit of grace to guide you.
As you receive from the abundance of your Father’s love you will be healed, made whole, and empowered to love those who have wronged you.
What is the law of Christ? The law of Christ is the power of God that brings healing and restoration to all who receive his love. It is the grace to be loved and to love others in return.
In my next article I will list all the types of laws in the Bible. If you have wondered about the different laws, you won’t want to miss that one.
More articles about the law.
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