“And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.” 1 Thessalonians 3:12
Paul wants believers to “increase and abound in love for one another.” This is not a new concept. We know we need to love one another. It is not just a good idea, it is crucial.
In Mark chapter 12, a scribe asked Jesus what was the most important commandment. We are familiar with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5), but the Jewish leaders had added to the list. They had about 613 commandments. Jesus gives the greatest commandment, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (verse 30). The greatest commandment is to love God! Jesus did not stop there. He continued, “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (verse 31). Loving one another is a commandment and it is high on the list.
It is hard to ignore how often this command to love one another is given:
- “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12
- “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34
- “These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” John 15:17
- “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7
- “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11
- “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” 1 Peter 1:22
- “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:10
- “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” 1 John 3:11
- “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8
- “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” 1 John 3:23
- “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
- “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 5:14
Finally, as Christians, love should be our distinguishing characteristic. John 13:35says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” The key ingredient to our walk is love – love for God and love for one another.