It has always seemed strange to me that Paul said,
For whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. (8b)
After all, isn’t loving God the other half of fulfilling the law? Jesus did say after all that the two great commands are to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-40)
Why then focus only on the latter?
I’m not sure, but I think perhaps the reason is that we cannot separate the former from the latter. That if we truly love God, we must love our neighbor. And if we don’t love our neighbor, we’re not truly loving God.
John says as much in his epistles.
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (I John 3:17)
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (I John 4:20-21)
It’s very hard to argue with John. How can we claim that we love a God whom we have never seen, while at the same time we hate the people around us that we can see?
How about you? Do you claim to love God? If so, how are you treating the people around you? Are you loving them? Or are you looking down on them? Are you despising them?
If you’re doing the latter, it’s time to take a close look at how much you truly love God.
So as John wrote,
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (I John 3:18)