Garland Of Grace – 03.30.15


Our First Love; Thoughts on the Greatest Commandment

Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! the Lord our God is one Lord; 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.” – Mark 12:29-30

Our Lord Jesus refers to this commandment as the first or foremost commandment. Because of this, it carries greater significance than even the Ten Commandments. It is the chiefest of all commandments, and must take precedence over all other biblical statutes and precepts. Any other commandments recorded in scripture fall under the umbrella of its authority, and are essentially contained in this general mandate. With these things in mind, it should not surprise us to know that this commandment has been described as the “sum and substance of the law.” W.A Criswell put it best; “Before God said thou shalt not commit adultery and thou shalt not kill or thou shalt not steal, this commandment was already fixated and positioned in the foundations of the universe and the created order.” Charles H. Spurgeon said that this “greatest commandment was binding upon the angels before man was ever created. It was not necessary for God to say to the angels, thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not steal; for such things to them were very probably impossible; but He did doubtless say to them, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. It was binding upon Adam in the garden even before the creation of Eve. Before there was a necessity for any other command, this command was written upon the very tablets of his heart.”

But sadly, this greatest commandment is greatly broken by mankind. Some break this commandment simply because they hate God. There is the infidel and reprobate, who scoff at God. There is the atheist, who blasphemes His creator. There are even those who mock the very thought of a God. Secondly, other people simply break this commandment with an attitude of indifference. It is as if God is not even on their radar. They neglect Him and do not see God as viable in their life. Because of this, they really do not particularly care for the things of God. Lastly, there are God’s people, the church; for they are guilty of breaking this command as well. Oftentimes what is lacking in God’s church today is a pure unadulterated love for God.

Tragically, many Christians have left their first love and have lost an overall passion for God. Does this describe you? Is your passion for God not what it used to be? Is your intimacy with the Lord lost some its luster? Has your relationship with the Lord lost some of that “pop” so to speak? Have you lost that excitement you first had when you were saved? If so, then I would like to remind you what it was like when you first fell in love with the Lord Jesus. Don’t you remember that awestruck sense of wonder and excitement that penetrated your heart when you initially surrendered your life to Jesus, and yielded to His Lordship? I am not suggesting that the Christian journey is solely based upon emotions. But what I am saying is that if your zeal for God is not as strong as it used to be and your walk with the Lord has grown somewhat stale, there is a great possibility that you have left your first love. Jesus doesn’t say that the most important thing in your life is to love your 401K with all your heart or to love football with all your heart or even to love your family with all your heart. He says the most important thing in your life is to love God with all of your heart. This command is clear; and there should be nothing halfhearted about obeying it. It’s not enough to give God “a part” of your heart or to give God “a place” in your heart. He deserves all of your heart. You are to supremely love Him above anything and anyone else. This is the greatest commandment of all.

 – Pastor Eric

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