So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
—John 13:34-35 (NLT)
“Love one another,” Jesus said to the disciples in the Upper Room the night before His crucifixion. “Love as I have loved you.” It was a new commandment because Jesus, who had just spoken it, was about to reveal its life-changing purpose on the Cross. Jesus had prepared himself to fulfill His Father’s purpose.
Just before speaking this new commandment, He had washed the disciples’ feet and revealed the one who would betray him and the one who would deny Him. He had made himself less before them. He knew they didn’t get it. Gethsemane was before Him where the disciples would sleep, and Calvary waited for Him alone. And there Jesus’ love would give everything for these disciples and for the whole world. Mercy and grace would flow from the Savior who had just said, “Love as I have loved you.”
The capacity to unreservedly love as Jesus became real when we were born again—when our old nature became new. Do we grasp what His grace accomplished? He exchanged His righteousness for our sin. He, who knew no sin, became sin, so that we who believe in Him, could become the righteousness of God. When we understand this truth, we begin to comprehend just how much He loves us. And when His Spirit has renewed our minds, unconditional love flows smoothly and without restraint through us.
His grace has set us free to love. However, we often bicker and argue and find fault and hold grudges and judge. If we gave the Holy Spirit access, loving others would flow easily and naturally through us. The new commandment that He established by giving up any rights and offering His life cries out to live in us. Have we allowed the Holy Spirit access to renew us in the spirit of our minds so we might understand what it means to be free from the burden of sin? He forgives us! We are free from the weight of the law. If we know we are free, we have no reason to burden others. We are free to love as He has loved us.
“Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes,” Paul wrote. “Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (Ephesians 4:23-24, NLT). You have the spirit of Christ in your born-again spirit. You have His nature. Put on that new nature daily, and allow Jesus to transform and renew your thoughts and attitudes. Your old life died on Calvary. A new commandment is here—the old law is fulfilled, never again to take precedence. You can love as He has loved you. His grace loves beyond measure—beyond fault—beyond rights. His love is everlasting mercy and life-changing grace that conquered sin and renews you.
Allow His grace that put you first on Calvary, to be first in your life. "Love as I have loved you," He said, and stretched out His arms and died. There is no greater love.
© 2019 Lynn Lacher