” because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Romans 8:21
My previous post expounded upon how the Golden Rule is the quintessential summary of the law and the prophets. Such exposition would not be complete without considering why, after the Golden Rule has been before mankind’s face for over two thousand years, multitudes still do not follow it. The problem of human relationships is raging as ever now in modern times as it was the very first time the Lord first introduced this glorious principle.
Why do human beings abandon this lofty rule for living? Why are there ongoing disputes between and among nations, in families, and at the cellular level, between two people?
The reason is biblical and theological. One of the fundamental statements of the gospel is that man is sinful and perverted. Everything can be brought down to one word: “self”. Loving our neighbor as ourself is the one thing we do not do because we love self so much in a distorted and excessive way, that it is difficult to apply the Golden Rule. Man is selfish by nature.
How then can one follow the Golden Rule? The gospel solution starts with God: to start with the greatest commandment to “love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and with all our strength”. We start with God, not with our neighbor.
We turn from all our human relationship problems, the disputes and quarelling, and we turn to God, and look into His face. We see Him in all His holiness, His greatness, His almightiness and creative power, and humble ourselves before Him. The knowledge of God brings the realization of our poverty of spirit, our unworthiness, and of our utter need of Him. In turn, we see other people as ourselves, no longer as our competitors trying to beat us out in our worldly endeavors, but as victims like us, of sin and of the god of this world. We are both in the same predicament of overwhelming helplessness, that together we must run to Christ and avail ourselves of His wonderful grace of salvation.
It is when we have been delivered from the captivity of self that we are able to love our neighbor as ourselves, and we begin to enjoy the “glorious liberty of the children of God.”
*** Reference: David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount”, Martino Publishing, CT, 2011, pp. 211-216.
*** Photography: Sunrise by Giangiorgio Crisponi