The Significance of Love in the New Covenant

Messiah gives us insight into the increased emphasis on love in the new covenant (Jeremiah 31: 31) during this conversation with a lawyer in Matthew 22: 35-40:

 

“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?   Yahshua said unto him, Thou shalt love Yahweh thy Elohim with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two Commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

 

Messiah quoted verse 37 above from Deuteronomy 6: 5: “And thou shalt love Yahweh thy Elohim with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”  And as we have shown in other articles, the Yahweh of the Old Testament is Messiah. (First Corinthians 10: 4)   Therefore, both of these passages were spoken by Messiah. However, Matthew’s quote from Messiah indicates that His words were expanded by His addition of the second commandment that now carries the same significance as the first.

 

Mark supports this addition to Deuteronomy when he quotes an exchange that Messiah had with a scribe in Mark 12: 28-34:

 

“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he answered them well, asked him, which is the first commandment of all?  And Yahshua answered him, the first of all the Commandments is, Hear, O Israel; Yahweh our Elohim is one Yahweh.  [Yahweh(English, Lord) our Elohim is one Yahweh (English, Lord): Quoted from Deuteronomy 6:4]  And thou shalt Love Yahweh thy Elohim with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, And with all thy strength: [quoted from Deuteronomy 6: 5] this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other Commandments greater than these.  And the scribe said unto him, well, Master, thou hast said the truth for there is one Yahweh: and there is none other than he: And to love him with all thine heart, And with all the understanding, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.  And when Yahshua saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, thou art not far from the kingdom of Yahweh. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

 

Matthew and Mark are two witnesses that have established (Deuteronomy 19:15) that Messiah expanded upon the law that he gave to Moses when he walked the earth as Yahshua. This should not be surprising, after all, he informed us in Matthew 5:17 that he would be doing this: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”

 

The Greek word for fulfill is Strong’s number 4137. It means to complete or accomplish. The scribe’s understanding of what Messiah was saying brought him very close to having the right knowledge for entrance into the kingdom of Yahweh. The addition of loving your neighbor was quite significant.

 

The apostle John is a third witness to the relevance of love in the new covenant. Consider what John tells us in John 13:34:  “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”  Again, in 1 John 2: 8-11 he refers to the new commandment concerning loving one another:

 

 “Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is passed, and the true light now shineth.  He that saith he is in the light, and he hateth [loves less] his brother, is in the darkness even until now.  He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.  But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.”

 

This additional commandment that Messiah informed us about is very significant. Without being able to demonstrate the quality of love he expects from us,we are unable to overcome into the better resurrection. John 14:21 teaches us this: “He that hath my Commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.”  We must take this very seriously. Messiah also said this in John 15: 14:  “Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.”  You must ask yourself if you love Messiah and do you want to be his friend?   He will not accept your words only. He wants you to demonstrate your love for Yahweh AND one another.  You should not want to hear what the five unwise virgins heard in Matthew 25: 12: “I KNOW YOU NOT.”

 

What is the quality of love that Messiah requires of us?  Paul, who was personally taught by Messiah, describes this in 1Corinthians 13:4-7:

 

“Charity [modern English is love] suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doeth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, rejoiceth in the truth;  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

 

This is a very high standard. How do we even begin to attain it? We will not be able to do so with our carnal mind. (Romans 8: 7)  We must have the Spirit of Messiah being formed in us. (Galatians 4: 19) With baptism and laying on of hands, we received the Spirit of the Father. The Spirit of the Father begins the formation of the Spirit of Messiah within us. With the development of this spiritual fetus, we are able to begin to exhibit the quality of love Messiah expects. This is HIS love that we manifest. Only he can provide the ability to manifest the quality of love described by Paul.

 

The degree to which we love one another is a significant indicator of how we are progressing in the formation of the Spirit of Messiah. Remember what Paul tells us in Romans 8:9: “Now if any man have not the spirit of Messiah, he is none of his.”  Messiah will not acknowledge us as HIS!  This is serious. Is this why the five unwise virgins heard Messiah say, ”I know you not.”

 

It is indeed very important to know the name of Yahweh and his Son YahwehShua.  The 144,000 in the better resurrection have the name of the Father and Son on their foreheads. But, knowing the names, keeping the Sabbath, honoring the food laws, studying and praying is not enough. We are also to love one another. John confirms this in 1 John 3:23: “And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son YahwehShua Messiah, and love one another, as he gave us Commandment.”  We are not able to choose one. We must have both knowledge AND love.

 

John confirms the importance of love in 1 John 3:14: ”We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”  Heretofore, we have learned that if we call on the name of Yahshua, we have chosen the name of death.  This name was defiled by all of mankind’s sins. We cannot worship before Yahweh the Father in the name of Yahshua or be baptized in that name, which is the name of death. Now, we are told that if we do not love the brethren, that too is death. One without the other is death. It requires baptism in the name of YahwehShua to begin the formation of Messiah’s Spirit and then each depends on the other for life. Without both we will not overcome into the better resurrection.

 

Why did Messiah tell us in Luke 6:22 that, “blessed are ye, when men hate you”?  The reason is that being hated is an opportunity to manifest the love of Messiah that is being developed.  As we develop and practice HIS love, the spiritual fetus is nourished and strengthened.

 

This is also why he told us in Luke 6:32 that we are not to only, “Love them which love you”. He also said in verse 33 to not only, ”do good to them which do good to you.”  To love those who don’t show love to you or even persecute you is a challenge that can help you manifest Messiah’s love and further develop the spiritual fetus. Our goal following baptism is to encourage the development of the spiritual fetus so that we can overcome. Avoiding or failing opportunities of growth can slow down or even quench the formation of the Spirit of Messiah.

 

 Messiah continues in Luke 6: 35-38 to challenge us to grow: 

 

“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great,  and ye shall be the children of the Highest:  for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.  Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.  Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

 

What he is telling us to do is counterintuitive to our carnal mind. We cannot do it. But, he can. This is why we must have the Spirit of Messiah formed within us.  Without His Spirit we cannot demonstrate his type of love nor be in the better resurrection.   In the resurrection, ”we shall be like him.” (1 John 3: 2)

 

 Let us review what Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3:

 

“So I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and not have love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.”

 

This is very strong language. Love is the central theme of the New Covenant. Once we have the Spirit of the Father, we must pray for success in overcoming with opportunities to love one another. Remember, “ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7)  Yes, this will not be easy. It may even be painful. But this is what is necessary to overcome. Luke, in Acts 14:22, warns us in this manner: “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of Yahweh.”

 

The old covenant was a system of external guidelines. We had to demonstrate our faithfulness by how we followed the laws. That was under physical circumcision. Now we are circumcised in the heart. We still have external guidelines, but additionally we must have a changed heart and show this in how we treat one another.  This is not easy. That is why there will be only 144,000 firstfruits in the better resurrection. You must continue to be faithful to the Law, Sabbaths and all the external requirements. But we must exhibit true love to one another. We cannot fake it. It must be real. Each brother and sister in the faith has Messiah being formed within him or her. This is why what we do or not do to one another is doing or not doing to Messiah. (Matthew 25: 40-46)  Messiah knows the real you and will not be fooled.  So, don’t fool yourself by seeking to fake love.

 

What do I mean by faking love?  I have seen those who declare themselves to be a brother or sister make promises or commitments to do something to help a brother or sister and not keep that promise or commitment.  You may think that you are successfully deceiving that brother or sister, but in actual fact you are dealing with Messiah. Recall the example of Ananias and his wife in Acts chapter 5.  They too thought that they were just deceiving Peter, but Peter exposed their fake love. The penalty was death!  That is pretty dramatic. I have not seen that kind of result when I have witnessed brethren deceiving brethren.  While the penalty may not be instantly imposed, if that behavior continues it will probably result in a gradual process of quenching the Spirit of Messiah.  While the Father is certainly merciful, I would be careful.  Remember, you’re dealing with Messiah.  Apparently, Ananias and his wife forgot that. Don’t follow their example.

 

Developing and manifesting the love of Messiah is not a task for our carnal mind.  We must rely on Messiah. Paul gives us this very helpful reminder in Philippians 4: 13:  “I can do all things through Messiah which strengtheneth me.”  This is the time to: “Humble yourselves in the sight of Yahweh, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4: 10)  We must not fake it until we make it. We should be honest with Yahweh and repent of our weaknesses and deficiencies. Yahweh is ready to help us, but we must see the need and accept it.

 

Take the example of our brother, Epaphroditus, very seriously. (Philippians 2: 25- 30)  He risked his life and traveled 800 miles through dangerous circumstances to make sure his brother Paul had the money he needed. We must be willing to give of ourselves and our possessions to help one another.

 

Paul waited for this money while shackled to a Roman soldier. He was often imprisoned and suffered many troubles to be faithful to Messiah and to us, his brethren yet to come!  Are we willing to rely on Messiah to lead us and then go to where he leads us?  Do we trust him that much?  Loving, the way he is teaching us, requires us to trust him and wholeheartedly rely on him. It is not about us but about HIM.  We must be like him NOW, so we can be like him in the resurrection!