Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stand for True Righteousness, Part 4

Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were "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," and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12: 29--31 ESV). These two commandments sum up the two tables of the law. If the Church would live by these her impact on the world would be much more significant than it is.

A stand for true righteousness comes down to this--living a life of sacrificial love for others. That means doing what is best for others, even when they don't appreciate it, don't want it, and oppose you for it. That's the kind of love God demonstrated to us when he sent his Son to save us from our sins. We like our sin. We don't want to be delivered from it until God makes us aware of how terrible it really is. So when God sent his Son we didn't appreciate it. "He was despised and rejected by men; . . . he was despised, and we esteemed him not." (Isa. 53: 3 ESV). Did that stop him? No. He came anyway. He kept doing what he came to do, even in the face of mounting opposition. "He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him" (John 1: 11 ESV). Finally, to get rid of him they killed him by hanging him on a cross. But that was his plan from the beginning to obtain our salvation (Acts 2: 22--24). He gave everything out of love to a people who did not love him in order to bring us back to God. In that act he provides for us the only way to be righteous before God (Rom 5: 1; 2 Cor 5: 21).

At the heart of the Christian ethic lies the sacrificial love of God in Christ. You and I are called to imitate that sacrificial love to others by our actions, thoughts, and attitudes. "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children" (Eph 5: 1 ESV). A stand for true righteousness means imitating God by loving the unlovable, giving others what they need rather than what they deserve, and treating others with the same compassion you have received from God in Christ. Standing on a sidewalk and yelling at people in an angry tone is not what we're called to do. Rather, with tear-filled eyes and hearts melted with compassion we need to show people the end result of their sin and point them in the direction of the only hope for life. We need to model a life before them that makes them hunger and thirst for what we have. The world sees us as a negative people, angry, hostile, and ignorant. We need to demonstrate to the world that we are hopeful for our own future, grieved over the future of our world, compassionate toward our enemies, and informed--informed to the point of being able to show a better way to live. Make a difference where you live. By exemplifying sacrificial love to others take a stand for true righteousness.


  1. we used to play that song Love Train at church

  2. Yeah, I don't think that's the kind of love Jesus was talking about. You know, there was a fringe group within the "Jesus Movement" of the 60s and 70s that used sex as a means of "evangelism" and justified it on the basis of Jesus command to "love" others.

    Sorry, when I think of "The Love Train" the biblical concept of self-sacrifice for others isn't what comes to my mind.