Practicing Love, Honor and Respect

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Practicing Love, Honor and Respect

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Do the Scriptures summarize the way we should interact with other people?

“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh” (1 Peter 2:17-18 1 Peter 2:17-18 17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the fraudulent.
American King James Version×
).

“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
American King James Version×
; compare 1 John 2:9-11 1 John 2:9-11 9 He that said he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10 He that loves his brother stays in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11 But he that hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and knows not where he goes, because that darkness has blinded his eyes.
American King James Version×
).

As John tells us, God is love. Love sums up God’s character, His motivation, how He lives and how He deals with us. He wants us to show love in all our dealings with others.

How should we regard those over us in positions of authority?

“Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men” (Titus 3:1-2 Titus 3:1-2 1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness to all men.
American King James Version×
; compare Ephesians 6:5-7 Ephesians 6:5-7 5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as to Christ; 6 Not with eye-service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
American King James Version×
).

“First, I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to him. Pray for rulers and for all who have authority so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to know the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4 1 Timothy 2:1-4 1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
American King James Version×
, NCV).

“All of you must yield to the government rulers. No one rules unless God has given him the power to rule, and no one rules now without that power from God. So those who are against the government are really against what God has commanded. And they will bring punishment on themselves. Those who do right do not have to fear the rulers; only those who do wrong fear them. Do you want to be unafraid of the rulers? Then do what is right, and they will praise you” (Romans 13:1-3 Romans 13:1-3 1 Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will you then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same:
American King James Version×
, NCV).

How should husbands and wives interact with each other?

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25 Ephesians 5:25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
American King James Version×
).

“Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them” (Colossians 3:19 Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
American King James Version×
).

“… You husbands should live with your wives in an understanding way, since they are [physically] weaker than you. But show them respect, because God gives them the same blessing he gives you—the grace that gives true life. Do this so that nothing will stop your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7-8 1 Peter 3:7-8 7 Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 8 Finally, be you all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brothers, be pitiful, be courteous:
American King James Version×
, NCV).

“In the same way, you wives should yield to your husbands. Then, if some husbands do not obey God’s teaching, they will be persuaded to believe without anyone’s saying a word to them. They will be persuaded by the way their wives live. Your husbands will see the pure lives you live with your respect for God” (1 Peter 3:1-2 1 Peter 3:1-2 1 Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
American King James Version×
, NCV).

Do the Scriptures reveal that children should show and receive respect?

“ ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise—’that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:2-4 Ephesians 6:2-4 2 Honor your father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 3 That it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth. 4 And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, lest they become discouraged” (Colossians 3:20-21 Colossians 3:20-21 20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
American King James Version×
).

“For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children” (2 Corinthians 12:14 2 Corinthians 12:14Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not your’s but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
American King James Version×
).

It is just as important that parents be considerate, loving, gentle and encouraging to their children as it is for children to learn to respect, honor and love their parents. Mutual love and respect produce good character in children and build lasting bonds between them and their parents.

Respect learned in the home carries over into adult life. One of the causes of the anger and violence in societies is the sharp decline in genuine respect for others in the family—especially for the feelings and achievements of children.

Does God expect us to respond to everyone with kindness and gentleness?

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all …” (2 Timothy 2:24 2 Timothy 2:24And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, patient,
American King James Version×
).

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2 Ephesians 4:2With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love;
American King James Version×
, NIV; compare 1 Thessalonians 4:6-8 1 Thessalonians 4:6-8 6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. 7 For God has not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness. 8 He therefore that despises, despises not man, but God, who has also given to us his holy Spirit.
American King James Version×
).

The godly way of life begins in our attitude toward others. In every area of life we should treat others with kindness, love and respect.

How vital is it that we also sincerely love and honor God the Father and His Son?

“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38 Matthew 22:37-38 37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.
American King James Version×
; compare Malachi 1:6 Malachi 1:6A son honors his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is my honor? and if I be a master, where is my fear? said the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, that despise my name. And you say, Wherein have we despised your name?
American King James Version×
).

“And now … what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul?” (Deuteronomy 10:12 Deuteronomy 10:12And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
American King James Version×
).

“Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity” (Ephesians 6:24 Ephesians 6:24Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
American King James Version×
; compare John 5:22-23 John 5:22-23 22 For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son: 23 That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which has sent him.
American King James Version×
).Respecting, honoring and loving God the Father and His Son, Jesus the Messiah, is an essential aspect of our living the way of life God wants us to live.

All successful relationships require a degree of respect and honor for the parties involved. Add appreciation—the beginning of love—for each other and a lasting and close personal relationship may begin. But take away any of these essentials and the relationship will begin to wither. Take them all away and it will collapse.

Marriage, for example, can succeed only if each party loves, honors and respects the other. It is impossible to imagine a genuinely happy marriage in which one partner habitually disregards the feelings and desires of the other.

Yet many professing Christians try to conduct their relationship with God in precisely that manner. They expect God to respond with love and respect of their feelings and needs. But they see no need to respond to God with the same honor and respect. They disregard His Word, spurn His teachings and ignore His commands. They fail to comprehend the mutual obligations that must be present in the relationship God expects us to have with Him and with the converted spiritual family He is creating.

How does God view His relationship with those who truly are converted?

“ ‘I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Corinthians 6:18And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
American King James Version×
).

“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son” (Revelation 21:7 Revelation 21:7He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
American King James Version×
).

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12 John 1:12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
American King James Version×
; compare Romans 8:14-17 Romans 8:14-17 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
American King James Version×
).

What was God’s relationship with ancient Israel?

“I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people” (Leviticus 26:12 Leviticus 26:12And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people.
American King James Version×
).

“Do you thus deal with the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has He not made you and established you?” (Deuteronomy 32:6 Deuteronomy 32:6Do you thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he your father that has bought you? has he not made you, and established you?
American King James Version×
).

“… You [Israel] will call me, ‘My husband,’ and … I [God] will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will take you for my wife in faithfulness …” (Hosea 2:16-20 Hosea 2:16-20 16 And it shall be at that day, said the LORD, that you shall call me Ishi; and shall call me no more Baali. 17 For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. 18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. 19 And I will betroth you to me for ever; yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. 20 I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness: and you shall know the LORD.
American King James Version×
, NRSV).

What relationship with God has Christ made available to us through His sacrifice?

“ ‘The time is coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,’ declares the LORD. ‘This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people’ ” (Jeremiah 31:31-33 Jeremiah 31:31-33 31 Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was an husband to them, said the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, said the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

“… He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood’ ” (1 Corinthians 11:25 1 Corinthians 11:25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
American King James Version×
).As men and women enter into a marriage covenant (Malachi 2:14 Malachi 2:14Yet you say, Why? Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously: yet is she your companion, and the wife of your covenant.
American King James Version×
) in which they promise to cherish one another as husbands and wives, God has promised to enter into a covenant with those who will submit to Him with all their hearts and minds.

The word new in New Covenant, in both the Old and New Testaments, implies a refreshed or renewed covenant relationship. It does not imply a radically different covenant relationship.

The New Covenant is a refreshing, a renewing, of God’s original covenant. We could compare this to the Constitution of the United States. Amendments are added to the original document that explain how the original document is to be interpreted under specific conditions. They modify the original, but they do not abolish it.

In a similar way the Scriptures confirm that a new—in the sense of a refreshed—covenant relationship exists for all who, following repentance and baptism, are transformed by God’s Spirit (Hebrews 8:6-10 Hebrews 8:6-10 6 But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, said the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, said the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
American King James Version×
; Ephesians 2:11-13 Ephesians 2:11-13 11 Why remember, that you being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ.
American King James Version×
). That new relationship does not nullify or exclude the original document on which the old relationship was founded.

However, some aspects of that original document—the Old Testament Scriptures—must be interpreted and applied according to the spirit of the law as revealed by Christ instead of the precise letter of the law (2 Corinthians 3:6 2 Corinthians 3:6Who also has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.
American King James Version×
). For example, an adulterer who repents is forgiven instead of being stoned to death. Where there is repentance the old “ministry of condemnation” gives place to the much more glorious “ministry of justification” by which former sins may be forgiven and forgotten (2 Corinthians 3:9, NRSV).

The New Testament Scriptures reveal well-defined guidelines for applying the Old Testament Scriptures to the renewed covenant relationship. No text is deleted from the old with the introduction of the new (Matthew 5:17 Matthew 5:17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
American King James Version×
). But some amendments to the old are specified in the new.

The most notable modifications are the inclusion of people from all nations, the addition of better promises—including the promise of eternal life—and the active working of God’s Spirit in those who have entered into the New Covenant relationship with God. These and similar modifications dramatically improve the covenant relationship that exists between God and His people.

How is the future relationship between Christ and His Church described in the Scriptures?

“For I [Paul] have betrothed you [the Church] to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2 2 Corinthians 11:2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
American King James Version×
; compare Ephesians 5:25-32 Ephesians 5:25-32 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
American King James Version×
).

“ ‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife [the Church] has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God’ ” (Revelation 19:7-9 Revelation 19:7-9 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he said to me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God.
American King James Version×
).

When He returns to earth as the King of Kings, Jesus’ relationship with His resurrected saints will be like that of a husband’s to his wife. This means that the present relationship between Christ and the members of His Church is merely the beginning of an eternal relationship of trust, fidelity and love.

Our relationship with God can be compared with a growing family relationship between a father and his children or to an endearing relationship between a husband and his wife. Proper nourishment of this special relationship must involve love, respect, honor, action and effort. Like any relationship, its success also requires a major investment of time.