The message Jesus conveyed in Matthew 22:37–40 is fundamental to understanding the Christian faith. Love for God and for one’s neighbor are the central commandments upon which the entire law and prophets rest, as Jesus explained. This teaching is reflected in his response to the legal expert in Luke 10:27–28, emphasizing the importance of love for God and for one’s neighbor, which is indispensable for eternal life.
Verses from Galatians 5:14; Micah 6:6–8; and 1 John 4:20–21 underline this central teaching. Paul emphasizes that the practical exercise of neighborly love and love for God reveals true faith. Micah shows that true piety consists of loving justice, practicing mercy, and walking humbly with God. John stresses the incompatibility between professed faith and actual hostility or indifference toward others. These verses emphasize that practical love for God and for one’s neighbor is a tangible manifestation of faith.
Ellen White underscores that love defines the steadfastness and strength of a Christian. It’s important to understand that the emphasis on love is not to be taken as a mere set of actions but rather as an expression of genuine faith. The command of love is not a redemption through works but an authentic expression of faith in Jesus Christ. When Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13, emphasizes the significance of love, he makes it clear that faith without love is empty and meaningless. Love is the foundation upon which our faith and actions rest.
Overall, the Bible stresses the significant connection between faith and love. Love for God and for one’s neighbor is not just an action but an attitude of the heart that expresses true faith. By showing love and compassion to others, we demonstrate our faith in Jesus Christ and live the essence of his teachings.