Jesus sums up life as “Love God|Love People” – is he right?

Russell Minick Crown Heart World

“Love God|Love People” is a great slogan, but is it really what life is all about? Jesus seems to say that it is. But what about all of the deep, rich, complex, theological nuance of redemption? CrownHeartWorld’s main point is that “Love God|Love People” is the right way to understand everything else. “Love God|Love People” was the beginning ideal we have all fallen short of. Jesus lived “Love God|Love People” to the point of dying for our failed love. Jesus’ resurrection shows that selfless love is greater than all of human selfishness combined. Life is renewed when we die to our failed love and receive his triumphant love with faith and hope.

God’s Story says that life is about love. God is love and we are created in his image. Love is explained in a variety of ways throughout Scripture but ultimately in a person.

Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, He has spoken to us by Son. - Hebrews 1:1,2a

The Love Jesus revealed was the fully integrated concept of love that includes justice and mercy.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God. - Micah 6:8

This realization that Love really is the point is profound. It changes our thinking and our focus for life. Holiness is not aversion to bad as much as holiness is complete integration, manifestation, and celebration of what is good. Holy is being unmixed. God is Love, through and through, without mixture. Sin is falling short of that glorious ideal. We have all missed the mark of perfect love. We do not love ourselves, other people, or God as purely (holy) as God does. This is what separates us from him, and this is why Love revealed in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection makes restoration possible.

And what to we do when we are restored to the God who is self-existent Love; the one who made us in his image? We get better at receiving his love. That changes our ability to offer love back to him. That changes our view of others and our ability to express his love, truly appropriate and healthy love, to all others. Discipleship becomes about getting better at receiving and giving love in and through Jesus.  This foundational focus on seeing and living God’s love shows up repeatedly in apostolic prayers for people who trust in Jesus. Colossians, Ephesians, 2 Peter, Philippians…

And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you can approve the things that are superior and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God. - Philippians 1:9-11

“Love God|Love People” is not a shallow over-simplification. All of the deep and wonderful rich doctrines that come from God are rightly understood as extensions of this cruciform formula. Justice and Mercy are not at odds, they are complementary rays refracted from the pure light of Love. In other words: Jesus was right: “Love God|Love People”.

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