Love is Enough

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It is very easy to make errors in theology while trying to avoid errors in theology.

I have noticed among many Torah observant followers of Yeshua there seems to be a discomfort to let any statement about the importance of love for God and love for God stand alone. What I mean is when someone says something about the importance of love for God or God’s love for us, the knee jerk response of not all but many seem to sense some sort of "need" to balance the call to love with something about overcoming sin. Overcoming sin isn’t bad, of course but the underlying response to love as if it as insufficient for obedience, is problematic because it points to a misunderstanding about love because true love doesn't need “balancing” with works because true love works and any works we have outside of love is worthless and lacks any connection to God.

When Yeshua was asked, “’Rabbi, which of the mitzvot in the Torah is the most important?’ He told him, ‘“You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” This is the greatest and most important mitzvah. And a second is similar to it, “You are to love your neighbor as yourself.” All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot.’” Matthew 22:36-40 Similarly the Jewish teacher Paul said "Don’t be in debt to anyone, except for the obligation to love each other. Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law. The commandments, don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t desire what others have, and any other commandments, are all summed up in one word: You must love your neighbor as yourself. Love doesn’t do anything wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is what fulfills the Law." Romans 13:8-10

Since love is the fulfillment of the law, any works we have in addition or outside of love is worthless, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 The reason it is a problem to immediately try to balance the call to love with obeying reveals that we misunderstand the Bible if we think that acceptable obedience consists of works as an additional extra that is distinct from love itself rather than the result of it. Because anything we do outside of love for God is not worth doing.

I totally get were the need to “balance” love and works comes from. While many have hidden behind a false definition of “love” to minimize the importance of obedience as if you can love without doing so, which is a serious error, unfortunately I think in response too many fell off the other deep end by minimizing the importance of love as and treating it as a distraction from obedience- as if a love based theology and obedience is in competition with each other and acceptable obedience is something that is an addition to love rather than something done out of love. This promotes the same the mistaken idea it seems to be trying to fight against which is that true obedience can be separated from love but it can’t be. Yeshua said “’Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.’” John 14:21

Picture originally found here

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