According to Jesus’ words in Mk 12:28-31, a large part of loving God (and therefore abiding in Him) will be displayed in our relationships with others. This is also clearly taught in the Epistles: when Paul talks about walking in Christ, he focuses on interpersonal relationships (as we saw in chapters 4-6 of Ephesians).

In fact, this is taught throughout the New Testament, but perhaps the plainest articulation of this truth is in 1st John

1Jn 2:9-10 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light…

1Jn 3:14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.

1Jn 4:12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.

Of course, this is in the context of salvation. He is not saying that if you love others, you will be saved. He is saying that if you are saved, you will love others. And he does go so far as to say that if you don’t love others, it is evidence that you are not saved. That’s pretty stout!

As we said earlier, John received this revelation from Jesus who intertwined the concepts of abiding in Him and loving others. In an earlier lesson, we looked at Jn 15:1-11, which very clearly and intensely speaks of abiding in Him and His love, and how loving Him will be seen in our keeping His commandments. But then immediately in v 12, He gives us the commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

We see another aspect of this connection in Eph 4:16 (NCV): “The whole body depends on Christ, and all the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part does its own work to make the whole body grow and be strong with love.” Paul shows us that we can draw life – the life of God – from one another when we are properly connected in love. The result is maturity and growth.

This gives us another perspective on the importance of being closely connected in the Body of Christ – the church.

 

Consider:

Do I see my relationships with others as part of my relationship with God?