Holiness Is Loving Others

Holiness is loving others.

Romans 13.8-10
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Galatians 5.14
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Holiness--moral purity--is loving others.

To be clear, to handle a quick objection, love is not synonymous with liberal tolerance. Kindness and gentleness, still Fruits of the Spirit, perhaps get closer to what might be described as "tolerance." But love, as the culmination and goal of the virtues, is the cruciform and sacrificial love exhibited by Jesus. Tolerance gets nowhere near the love of servanthood, self-expenditure, and self-donation. Especially when it comes to our enemies. Love is not liberalism.

Holiness, then, in coming to love others as Jesus loved others, even your enemies, is the hardest and rarest thing in the moral, social, spiritual and political universe.

But the pursuit of this love is the pursuit of holiness, sanctity, saintliness and purity. 

Love does no harm to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And that includes the holiness codes of the law.

The entire law--including the holiness codes--is fulfilled in one command:

Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

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9 thoughts on “Holiness Is Loving Others”

  1. A great book that relates to this topic is Disarming Scripture by Derek Flood. A quote:

    Jesus begins with the call to "love our neighbor as we love ourselves," and then pushes us to expand our definition of "neighbor" to encompass those we would normally reject and shut out. Love of enemies challenges us to enlarge the border of inclusion beyond ts normal boundaries of family, tribe, and nation to include those we would regard as unworthy and enemies. In the relational perspective of Jesus, there is no "them," there is only "us."

    Richard, I hope you will write your thoughts about this book someday. It's about dealing with the violent passages of Scripture without justifying them or ignoring them, and learning to read Scripture the way Jesus did.

  2. A way I get into this insight about Love, is to stand it next to Greed: both are in the business of wanting, but where they differ is that Greed will readily subsume you in order to feed its appetite, Love won't move unless you can be upheld in the work of creating life together.

    What I'm wondering of late is whether the historical context of this discussion- that of the two Sons of Gods stood side by side (The Caesar Tiberius and Jesus of Nazareth) poses a question to human kind across all of time: will you fundamentally orient your life by way of Greed or by way of Love? Or, are we better to see this historical moment as one where a Caesar in the sky is soothed by the sacrificing of Jesus?

    It seems the latter would makes for an easier way of being human wouldn't it?

  3. Love is that which takes our imperfections and creates them into unique markings and strokes that make each day its own masterpiece. Not that every day is pleasant to the soul and senses; but they will be stirred.

  4. No doubt about it you just can't live w/out it. Take it from one who's tried.~bob Dylan

  5. "Tolerance gets nowhere near the love of servanthood, self-expenditure, and self-donation." I need to write that down and keep it close by.

  6. I don't know about it being all that rare. Seems to me, as a mother, that self-sacrificing love is a normal feature of the parent-child relationship.


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