Law: H.C. Question 4

Heidelberg Catechism Question 4

What does God’s law require of us?

Deuteronomy 6:5 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Leviticus 19:18 – “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

Matthew 22:36-40 – “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

5 thoughts on “Law: H.C. Question 4

  1. How hard is it to love God?How hard is it to love your neighbor ? We say we love God but is he first in our lives? So many things come between God and us. Complete love is an area I need to work on. Then maybe I can learn to love my neighbor as well. Love them enough that I can go and be a witness to them.

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    1. Isn’t that the truth? Sometimes we boil down Scripture to these two commandments, like Jesus did, in an effort to avoid all the rest of the Law, and then even with something that sounds as easy as this, we still fail… it truly reveals to us how much we need grace… not how much we need to try harder… we can’t do any of this perfectly, we need Jesus!

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  2. i was just thinkimg of one of the most important verses i came across last year: ‘now
    let me show you the most excellent way …’. Jesus tells
    us exactly what love is. what He is. and He lays it right out there. so plainly. i also get tripped up though in allowing myself to get walked on because i tend to love too easily. i often wonder how Jesus would have us act in the face of sometning very unhealthy or damaging. when
    does ‘rising above’ fall out
    of line with His message? ever? i also need to work
    harder on the self-love part. i just am sort of terrible in that regard and He wouldnt
    want that either.

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    1. 1 Corinthians 13 certainly gives us an example of the love that God calls us to, a love which He alone is the perfect example of. Your questions are deep and complex, and our experience of love in this world is also steeped in our brokenness…

      I often fear that we have been taught to “love unconditionally” in a way that is interpreted as “stay in a relationship at all costs, even if the cost is yourself.” There are a number of complex issues that come into play when we look at the big picture of relationships. Does God desire a lasting marriage? Yes, I think we can agree on that. Does God hate abuse, dehumanization, and oppression? Certainly, He does, there is no doubt of that in Scripture either. I think Scripture gives us clear guidelines for marriage roles that do not include “full submission” to abusive spouses.

      There is also precedent in Scripture for healthy boundaries in relationships, something that God exhibits with His people as well. Jesus actually distanced Himself from certain people and groups who were perpetuating the abuse of people through the Law.

      I’m also thinking about your comment that you “need to work on self-love” because you “are terrible in that regard”. I wonder at the irony of those two statements in the same sentence. Perhaps the first place to begin is in the reminder that God’s love for us in unconditional and that if He can love us despite our continual rebellion against Him, maybe we too can begin to see ourselves how He sees us.

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    2. Also, something that just popped into my head: Romans 8:1 “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” It’s a great reminder!! This week and next week in the Heidelberger are focused on sin, but that’s for the purpose of condemnation but rather to amplify the grace that is ours, given by God through Christ Jesus.

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