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Pastor Tim Swigarts Blog

Missio Dei is a Contemporary Baptist Church located in historic Galena IL. Senior Pastor Tim Swigart shares his thoughts on numerous topics concerning the church.

The Greatest Commandments and the Gospel

Timothy Swigart

One day, Jesus was tested by a lawyer. We find the test in Matthew 22:35-40. Matthew records the test this way: "And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?' And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'"

In a culture obsessed with the Law and with keeping rules, Jesus sums up all the Law in two summary statements - what we call the Great Commandments. In doing so, Jesus gives us the measure by which we must live.

If we really pay attention to this text, however, we find that we have a significant problem on our hands. Who can keep even these two commandments perfectly? We must ask ourselves: do we love God with all our heart, soul and mind all the time? Do we really love our neighbor as we love ourselves all the time? The simple answer is no.

The beauty we know as the Gospel is crucial at this point. The Gospel recognizes that we do not and can not keep the Law. Even when Jesus pairs the whole totality of the Law into two commandments, we fall woefully short. The Gospel teaches us that we are not saved by rule keeping. Rather, we are saved, because God has shown us mercy and grace. God has rescued those who trust in Jesus through Jesus's death and resurrection. Our sins were placed on Jesus and punished in His body. In return, Jesus' perfect obedience to the Law (including the two greatest commandments) has been imputed upon believers. When we stand in Christ, we stand in perfect righteousness.

The Gospel is amazing! If you'd like to hear more about this Gospel, contact me through the contact tab on this website. I'd love to share God's love with you at a time convenient for you.