As Christians, most of us do quite a bit of Bible study in some form or another. We always have a topic to talk about, a sermon to listen to, or theological issue to study. Isn’t this to be expected, though? We have 66 books (73 if you’re Catholic) which we hold to be our ultimate authority. We’re told that they’re profitable for teaching, correction, rebuking, and the like. So naturally we’ll want to get all the ins and outs sorted.
Alas, every noble endeavor has its dangers, and studying Scripture is no exception. When we’re trying to figure out how to properly exegete Romans 9, whether baptism should be administered to infants, what modesty should mean, and whether Calvinism is really better than Arminianism or just a little better, we can sometimes forget basics, neglecting core teachings of Christ.
So with this I call us, especially myself, to a reminder. Do not forget what Jesus said most often. He told us to love. He said to give generously, live mercifully, interact humbly, and judge justly. He told us to treat others as well as we would treat ourselves, even if they are our enemies, and to always show His grace to those who need it, whether they deserve it or not.
These things are easy to think of when we think of Jesus, but to actually remember that being a Christian means putting them into practice is hard. When I’m busy typing away for this blog, I might forget what my wife needs me to do right beside me. When you’re debating the proper role of tongues in edifying the church, you might find that your debate is far from edifying anyone. Or even when you are simply being a mild-mannered, not-theologically-intense Christian, you might go see Left Behind without realizing that when it comes to love some of your peers have been left behind.
Jesus told us that on Judgment Day He will identify with those who lacked food and clothing, those who were imprison, and those who were sick. So how He receives us will be based on how we receive them. Not so much on whether we worked on Sunday, we were Calvinist or Arminian, or we baptized babies. For it is love that is the greatest commandment, both towards God and towards men, and it is love which Scripture tells us will cover a multitude of sins.
Therefore until that Day, don’t forget to love.