The Foundation of True Values

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The Foundation of True Values

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God’s word provides essential information we could not discover from other sources. It provides the proper framework with which we may apply other knowledge. God in His Word instructs mankind how to live. He commands us to live in harmony with His revealed way of life. God’s laws define the true values, and He expects us to make them our own—rejecting any other alternative.

From beginning to end the Bible is a book of spiritual instruction. Its main focus is on God’s spiritual law, which is embodied and summarized in the Ten Commandments. They are a reflection of God’s mind and character. All biblical laws are expansions, case studies and detailed examples of how we are to love God and our fellowman.

How did Jesus Christ view the law of God?

“Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ 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. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets’ ” (Matthew 22:35-40 Matthew 22:35-40 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 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. 39 And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
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; compare Mark 12:28-31 Mark 12:28-31 28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
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).

God’s law is spiritual (Romans 7:14 Romans 7:14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
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) and based on love. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments,” wrote the apostle John. “And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3 1 John 5:3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
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). God’s law defines love and shows us how to love God and our neighbor. This great spiritual law may be likened to a riverbed. Providing a basic framework for daily living, it is a channel through which the love of God flows.

Both of the commandments Christ cited come from the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament. The “first and great commandment” is found in Deuteronomy 6:5 Deuteronomy 6:5And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
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and the second in Leviticus 19:18 Leviticus 19:18You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
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. These are two of the five books of Moses. As Jesus Christ said, the teachings of the law and the prophets hang on these two great principles. They summarize the intent and purpose of Scripture.

What is the ultimate goal of this law of love?

“So the scribe said to Him [Jesus], ‘Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.’ Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God’ ” (Mark 12:32-34 Mark 12:32-34 32 And the scribe said to him, Well, Master, you have said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: 33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said to him, You are not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that dared ask him any question.
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).

The purpose of God’s law is to teach us how to live His way of life. When God knows we are committed to living that way, He will eventually grant us eternal life in the Kingdom of God—our ultimate goal.

Did Jesus Christ see this great law of love as a means to a majestic end?

“And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him [Jesus], saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?’ So he answered and said, ‘ “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”’ And He [Jesus] said unto him, ‘You have answered rightly; do this and you will live’ ” (Luke 10:25-28 Luke 10:25-28 25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said to him, What is written in the law? how read you? 27 And he answering said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. 28 And he said to him, You have answered right: this do, and you shall live.
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).

Everlasting life in God’s Kingdom is the end result of fulfilling these two expressions of love by those who are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.

How does all this relate to the Ten Commandments?

“Now behold, one came and said to Him [Jesus], ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’ So He said to him, ‘. . . If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’ Jesus said, ‘ “You shall not murder,” “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “Honor your father and your mother,” and, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” ’” (Matthew 19:16-19 Matthew 19:16-19 16 And, behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said to him, Why call you me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He said to him, Which? Jesus said, You shall do no murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and your mother: and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
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In answer to this young man’s question, Jesus quoted five of the last six Commandments and then summed them all up by quoting the command to love our neighbor as well. The obvious conclusion is that loving our neighbor is a summary of the last six of the Ten Commandments. Accordingly, the first four of the Commandments tell us how to love God. This law is the perfect expression of God’s eternal spiritual values.

Did the apostle Paul follow Christ’s example in his teaching?

“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8-10 Romans 13:8-10 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
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).

Paul told others to follow him as he followed Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1 1 Corinthians 11:1Be you followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
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, KJV). So he quoted five of the last six Commandments and finished up with the summary command to love our neighbor as ourselves. Love, wrote Paul, is the fulfilling of God’s spiritual law.

This love expresses itself in worship and proper fear of God-and an outgoing concern for the welfare of our neighbors. This is the “royal law” of “liberty” (a liberation from sin and death) spoken of by the apostle James (James 2:8-12 James 2:8-12 8 If you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you do well: 9 But if you have respect to persons, you commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if you commit no adultery, yet if you kill, you are become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak you, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
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). Again, this law is the basis for right values and godly relationships. It defines the courtesy and conduct we owe one another as human beings.

But where do we obtain this kind of love?

“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit] which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5 Romans 5:5And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.
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, KJV).

Only God’s Spirit can impart His love to and through us. Other scriptures show that we must first repent of breaking God’s law, then we are forgiven through the blood of Christ and we receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37-39 Acts 2:37-39 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
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). For the whole fascinating story, be sure to request our free booklet The Road to Eternal Life .