When Jesus came to earth 2,000 years ago, He stepped into muddied theological waters. The Israelites had horribly confused the true meaning of God’s law. God intended for His law to lead the Israelites towards holiness, love, and redemption, but instead, the Israelites had become judgmental hypocrites who practiced harsh legalism. They had mistaken the heart of God’s law. In other words, they held the wrong beliefs.
Jesus was quick to clean up this mess, and in Matthew 22:37-40, He stunned the religious elite of Israel by summing up God’s Word in two profound statements. Christ said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
The foundational beliefs of Christianity can essentially be summarized into this one statement: Loving God wholeheartedly and loving others fervently. Just as the cross of Christ is comprised of two beams, one vertical and one horizontal, so is your life defined by your vertical love for God and your horizontal love for others.
It is easy to follow in the footsteps of the Israelites and hold the wrong beliefs about God’s Word. Sometimes people make Christianity all about traditions or worship styles. Ultimately, it is important for us as believers to always keep in mind the teachings of Christ, holding on to the truth that the Christian life is all about love!