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What are the two greatest commandments?
Thank you for your spiritual enquiry about the greatest commandments.
In the Bible God is recorded as giving his people a list of commandments. These were given to the people as a law to live by to make sure that the people lived in accordance to how God wanted them to live.
These rules were not meant to hinder their lives but to put boundaries in place to make sure that everyone enjoyed life with God.
The first and most important set of rules have been called the Ten Commandments. These are listed in Exodus 20:3-17, and consist of commandments like not having any other gods, keeping a day of rest from work, not lying, murdering, not committing adultery or stealing. They essentially fall into two different categories of loving God and loving people.
Later on in the Bible, in Matthew 22:35-40, Jesus is asked a question by people who want to trick him. They ask “which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus says the greatest is to love God and the second is to love your neighbour as yourself. In the book of Romans 13:9 it is then said that all of the other 10 Commandments, about not doing bad things to other people, can be summed up in saying 'you shall love your neighbour as yourself'.
The commandments were given to God's people to guide their lives. They are not the way that people get right with God. Instead we are told to have faith in God's own Son Jesus Christ who came to save us. It is impossible for people to obey the law perfectly. The book of Ephesians 2:13-22 said that Jesus came to abolish the law of commandments by dying on the cross so we can be made right with God for the bad things we have done in not fulfilling the law completely.
We are then encouraged to try and keep the commandments, after we have been saved by faith, this is the correct order. We are not saved by good works and keeping the commandments but we are saved by faith in Jesus to then carry out good works by keeping the commandments. The book of 1 John 2 talks about this.
In summary the commandments are important and vital for understanding how we should relate to God and to other people. But it is important that we do not try and carry out the commandments without having a real faith in God and the Holy Spirit to help us live it out.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- Exodus 20
- Psalm 103
- Matthew 22
- Romans 13
- Ephesians 2
- 1 John 2
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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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