Summary: Is it enough just to love God? By that we mean, it is enough to be well pleasing to God to simply love Him? Some Christians would say yes, others no, but what does God's word say? That is the focus of this lesson.
Last week I asked a dozen people this simple question, “Is it enough just to love God?” Only two people said “yes it was enough just to love God,” while the other ten emphatically said, “no it’s not, we have to obey Him.” So what is the answer? Is it enough just to love God? In other words, is loving God enough to be pleasing to Him and to be rewarded with eternal life in Heaven? While many in my unscientific survey said no, the Bible has another answer and that is yes, it is enough just to love God. Let me show you why that is.
#1. Loving God is the most important of all the commandments.
When an inquisitive scribe asked Jesus “Which commandment is the most important of all?” (Mark 12:28) Jesus did not reply that all the commandments were equally important. Rather, He singled out one command as the most important, saying: “‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these’” (12:29-30).
Notice the scribe’s response to Jesus’ answer: “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that He is one, and there in no other besides Him. And to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices” (12:32-33).
The scribe correctly recognized that Jesus was saying that to love God was greater, or more important, than obeying the Ten Commandments, or keeping the Sabbaths, or giving the tithe, or all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices, or any other commandment. Later, in his epistle to the Colossians, Paul echoes our Savior’s words, saying, “And above all these things” (that is the commandments in 3:1-13), “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (3:14). Again, Paul said, “So now faith, hope and love abide… but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Let’s bring this down to where we are today. Loving God is more important than practicing non-denominational, non-institutional Christianity. Loving God is more important that singing praises to Him without instruments, or taking the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week, or practicing the proper roles for men and women in the assembly. The command to love God is even more important than the command to be baptized. That is not to say that these things are not important, they are of great importance, but loving God is greater still.
For our Lord and Paul, to love God is greater, more important, than all the commandments; in fact, love is the adhesive that binds all other commandments together. That is why it is enough just to love God. As we will see, if we love God, we will keep His commandments, even the least of them.