A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. – John 13:34
Maybe you can relate… As I matured, my relationship with my parents changed. When I was very young, they supervised my every move with rules and expectations clearly stated along with correction. By the time I was a teenager, the need for tight control dissipated, and I enjoyed more freedom and more reasoned guidance. As an adult, I have enjoyed a friendly, nearly peer-like relationship with my parents. Expectations have not really changed significantly since I was young, but mutual love has become the bedrock of the relationship. The difference now is that love restricts me more soundly than fear ever could.
Because of the emphasis on salvation and love in the New Testament, many people have conjectured that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are different, but Jesus does not make this distinction. Rather, the New Testament ushered in a new era of communion between God and His people. Jesus came to save, heal, and liberate His people, and He did. Jesus Christ satisfied the Old Testament and established a new and better Testament written in His own flesh and blood (John 6:51 and Mark 14:24).
Built upon the same principles of the Old Testament, the New Testament stresses obedience through discipleship rather than simple legalism. However, it is very important to note that the moral expectations are not appreciably different. Jesus taught us to love God above all and love your neighbors above yourself. How we love God without making Him and His will the most important objects of affection? How can we love our neighbors if we threaten their life or property?
James referred to the love of neighbors as the royal law (James 2:8). It is the supreme guide for our daily behavior, our great work. If an act is not loving, it is sin, and God’s Word is full of expert guidance on how to love properly when the situation is unclear. Through the Word, Jesus Christ leads us today if we hear. Listen for Him in the pages of your Bible. He is there. We love Him because He first loved us. Let your relationship grow.