There are a number of one another passages in the New Testament that I believe should be a litmus test of our relationships as believers. These one another commands are important in at least three ways. (1) They us that believers belong to one another. (2) Our relationships should go deeper than meeting for church services. (3) Those with capacity are under divine obligation to help those in lack. The first “one another” passage I want to look at is found in John 13:34 the love one another passage. Love is the trademark of Christianity! If we fail here, we have failed everywhere.
It is striking that this is called a new commandment, how can loving one another be a new command? Surely they people must have loved each other before this? In fact John talks a lot about this “new” but old command (1 John 2:8-10, 3:23, 2 John 5). It is in the sense of Christian love being at a higher level, i.e. not “as you love yourself” but “as I have loved you”, i.e. self-sacrificing love. True Christian love is unconditional and sacrificial. No wonder the Lord gives it as a command! One may ask should love be commanded. YES! And the reason is simple; this is not referring to feelings as to action – principled action.
Now granted due to the vagueness of the word “love” today, it’s true meaning has been marred especially by sensual, lustful and shallow romantic songs, movies and soap operas that simply emphasis one’s feelings. That is not what Jesus has in mind when he says, “Love one another”. And in this context neither is He is referring to brotherly affection or a sentimental attachment (although there is nothing wrong with that). Rather, he is referring to a purposeful social or moral love as a matter of principle or call of duty. So, how or what you feel is an irrelevant question instead the right question should be “what ought to be done in this particular case?” what is required of me? Etc. It is a genuine commitment to the welfare of others whether they deserve or not. And the standard for Love is the Lord himself. We should love like He did, to the point of dying for the brethren! What a standard!
The Lord then tells us why this is important when he says “by this the world will know that you are my disciples if you love one another” Love is the hallmark of Christianity, it is what distinguishes Christianity from the world. While Worldly institutions are characterised by hatred, jealousy, gossip, slander, suspicions, malice, envy, etc. The Christian church should be the exact opposite- a group of people who selflessly love each other. Christ says from our love people will see our Christ likeness. It is not in the loudness of our singing or the zeal with which we seek to win souls, but by our love. Those who are privileged in any way will make sure they use their privileges for the welfare of those who are deprived. This is how we are to know if we are truly saved (1 John 3:14). This is also how fellow Christians will know us, by our love for them.
When Jesus left his church on earth, he wanted to make sure that had love as its uniting force. Is that what is keeping us together? Do you love other believers? Do you go out of your way to love- Unconditional and sacrificial love? To the point that you are willing to die for them! Do you want to know a disciple of Christ? Look at how they love others. Do you want to know a healthy and biblical church? Look at how they love each other! Love is the trademark of Christianity!!!