The Eleventh Commandment -- By: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 02:1 (Summer 1993)
Article: The Eleventh Commandment
Author: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

The Eleventh Commandment

S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.1

An Exposition of John 13:31–35


The problem of the summum bonum, that is, What is the greatest good?, has intrigued theologians, philosophers, and others. Just what is the pre-eminent goal in life? And what is the pre-eminent goal in the Christian life?

Our Lord’s gift of the new commandment to the apostles and to the church bears in an important way upon the answer to the question. In fact, a good case could be made for the new commandment, the commandment that the Christian major in Christian love, being that summum bonum.

Listen to the testimonies of some of the apostles, which they gave later in their ministries of writing. John wrote in his First Epistle,

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that

the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:7–18).

John certainly accords the highest place to Christian love.

Peter writes more simply and concisely, but with equal emphasis, “And above all things have fervent charity (lit., love) among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8).

And Paul, who was a man stained with blood, and who was not, as we often do, recommen...

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