#DailyDevotion Worshipping The Image Of God Is Loving Your Neighbor
2 Cor. 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
Now earlier Paul spoke as to the fear of the Lord and doing what pleased God because we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Now it is the love of Christ that compels and controls us. I hate the word to motivate, it doesn’t seem sufficient, controls and compels makes us seem like robots. The Greek word is synecho (syn-with, echo-to hold fast) which translators take as a figurative sense of the word, to impel seems to be a better translation. The ‘syn’ part of the word would imply our cooperation with the love of Christ and indeed, having been freed from sin we are able to cooperate with Christ in our lives.
Now why does the love of Christ do this? Because we have concluded one has died for all, therefore all have died. When Christ Jesus died on the cross, not only did he die for all people, which he did, everyone died with him. Just as the first Adam caused all people to be born spiritually dead and sinful, the second Adam, Jesus, died for all people and all people have died in him. Every single person is intimately joined with Jesus in his death. There is no person for whom Jesus did not die for and there is not a single person whose death isn’t in Jesus’ death on the cross.
Now that he has died for all, those who live, that is those who have eternal life in themselves, i.e. the life of Jesus through faith, might now live their lives no longer selfishly for themselves but for Jesus. We seek to please Jesus with our lives. How do we do that? We daily repent of our sins and look to Jesus for our salvation AND we love one another. Jesus loved us. He sacrificed himself on behalf of the others i.e. us. Now he desires with the same love he loved us with we love one another. We do this by seeking the good of others above ourselves. We look to the interest of others instead of our selfish interest. Our life theme should be how can I serve you today. But it is only the love of Christ that can make this happen in our hearts, minds, souls and lives.
Because Jesus died and was raised for your neighbors’ sake, because your neighbor is intimately joined with Christ Jesus on the cross and the Lord intends to make them alive with him and give him eternal life, because your neighbor was made in the image and likeness to God and the Lord Jesus intend to conform that person to his own image, the service of love to the neighbor, the worship of the neighbor is service and love to the one whose image and likeness they were made in and in whose image they were destined to be conformed to, Jesus.
Merciful God and Father, as you have joined all humanity to the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ and have made his death our death and his life our life, grant us faith and love that we may serve and love our neighbor as a proper service and worship of your image. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.