Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Neighbor Love

This Sunday I am preaching on Jesus' parable of "The Good Samaritan". It can be a tricky text because of the ease with which we can make it a law unto salvation by which we justify ourselves before God. This was the same error the expert in the law was making. At the same time, if we are thinking honestly about it, who among us can truly be justified before God on the basis of our obedience to love our neighbor as ourself? How often do any of us love anyone with the same love with which we love ourselves? How often have we loved an enemy this way? How often have we loved our spouse this way? It is no wonder that Scripture tells us that by works of the law no one will be justified before God.

I saw the following posted over at Justin Taylor's blog. It is an excellent meditation by John Piper on the Christian's responsibility to serve others without expecting anything in return.

Why do Christians walk through life feeling a humble sense that we owe service to people, rather than them owing us? The answer is that Christ loved us and died for us and forgave us and accepted us and justified us and gave us eternal life and made us heirs of the world when he owed us nothing. He treated us as worthy of his service, when we were not worthy of his service. He took thought not only for his own interests but for ours. He counted us as greater than himself: “Who is the greater,” he said, “one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27).

That is where our humility comes from. We feel overwhelmed by God’s grace: bygone grace in the cross and moment-by-moment arriving grace promised for our everlasting future. Christians are stunned into lowliness. Freely you have been served, freely serve.

So the crucial relational mark of the culture of our church should be Philippians 2:4: Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” This is the “mind” or the “mindset” that we should have in life together. This is the relational atmosphere where God will grant wisdom for the perplexing work of living n this world.

John Piper

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