So great is God’s love and concern for his church that he commands a high level of mutual love and support within the church.

An analysis of the New Testament commands about ‘one another’ and ‘each other’ in their context reveals that, although we are elsewhere commanded to love all people, these particular commands refer to our actions and attitudes towards other believers, not to our actions and attitudes to all people in general.

As God’s dearly loved children, saved and set apart as his people, we are to treat one another as extremely special:

Each of these commands presents us with a serious challenge that calls us out of the ‘normal’ level of inter-personal relationships and into an amazing level of personal relationships that ceases to reflect the cultural norm. Here we are commanded that our attitudes and our actions towards our fellow-believers are to reflect the attitude and action that God has clearly and powerfully demonstrated towards us in and through Jesus Christ.

Thus the self-denying, self-sacrificing love of Christ for us is both the motivation and the measure of this mutual love and care that God commands and expects within the church.

Such amazing and humanly impossible love among those who identify themselves with Christ demonstrates to the watching the world the reality and integrity of any claims we might make to be his disciples.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2009