It is easy to become caught up in the idea that love is all you need. Jesus was so emphatic about how we should love one another that many overlook that this sentiment does not preclude us from our responsibility for our actions. Christ allows us to forgive as He, in turn, forgave others–but the debt for our actions still must be paid.
To understand Biblical truth means that one must examine the entire Bible, not simply the New Testament–for Jesus said in Matthew 5: 17-20-Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The idea of behavior based upon law is pretty much central to the Bible, especially the first five books of the Old Testament which make up the Torah. Here we find the ‘code’ of law, the very heart of what the Jewish Jesus would know, memorize, and meditate upon.
Reading Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament, some mistakenly see Jesus instructions delivered in the Sermon on the Mount as a rejection of ‘law’ in favor of ‘love’..but was this the case?
Not if you see who Jesus was speaking to and why.
Matthew 5: 21 begins: “You have heard that it was said to those of old…” This is the traditional way rabbi’s would teach about the interpretation of a matter. God had given us the written instructions on how we should behave. These were specifically drawn to aid us in how we approached everything fro marriage to work to worship. Jesus, knowing that He has come to fulfill the sacrifical system of a sin offering is not rejecting the Jewish laws so much as attempting to illustrate to His audience that ‘law’ is simply an action which does not take into account the ‘heart’ or thoughts that inspire such actions.
It is not longer enough to simply take sinning for granted and have it covered simply by the standards of given in the Old Testament; now we must look further into the sins commited to see that God’s standards go well beyond law and courts to the very reason of our self-will. We see Christ explain this: Matthew 5: 23 & 24-Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Sacrificing is by no means enough if we don’t attempt to put our sinful offense against another put right.
It is for this reason that many Christians confuse the idea that: ‘God is love,’ without the understanding that ‘God is also judge.’
The Beatles had it half-right with their, “All you need is love.”
God expects us to deliver the whole: All you need is love when accepting that Jesus died for your sins–but when praying ensure that your behavior must encompass TRUE acceptance of your responsibility and mindset in asking for forgiveness from God. Our heart and mind should in no case become to true penitence when we come before God…and our thankfulness for the offering Christ gave for us must never become a matter of the ‘routine’ rather than heartfelt.