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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law part 47

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John 15:12–13

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

Paul is not speaking of personal perfection, but of the integrity common to the Church. He says that love is a bond or connection that holds the many members of the Church together, just as in all families and states, harmony is nourished by service to one another, and tranquility is retained by people overlooking and forgiving small mistakes among themselves. So Paul commands that there should be love in the Church in order that harmony may be preserved, bearing with the harsher manners of some as there is need, and overlooking small mistakes, lest the Church splinter into various schisms, and the hostilities, factions, and heresies that arise from such divisions.

Pulling It Together

Having understood that Christ alone is the satisfaction for our sins, we see love in a new light. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19), not because we expect special favor from God. Knowing how much Christ loves the Church, we should want to hold together that for which he died and rose again. The fellowship of the Church is quickly divided when we do not bear with one another’s weaknesses (Col 3:13) and forgive them. Imagine how many of his disciples’ actions Jesus overlooked. Now think of how much he endures in your behavior. It is to your glory when you overlook an offense, and it preserves harmony in Christ’s Church.

Prayer: Help me do what you command, Lord, through the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

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