Q&A: Sin as Lack of Love

Sin as Lack of Love

Since love for God and neighbor summarizes the law, is sin fundamentally unloving?

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Answer

Jesus taught that the love of God and neighbor summarized the law, and the question would be, therefore, is sin fundamentally being unloving? And I think there is a strong case to be made for that. It's really interesting who Jesus asks us to love, however. Love of God, that's kind of obvious, but love of neighbor? Recall that in the Luke account the answer to the question, "How may I obtain eternal life?" is answered with love of God and neighbor, but then it goes on to say, "Who is my neighbor?" And it talked about in terms of a race story, it talked about a needs story, it talked about someone bleeding by the side of the road, so boy, that encapsulates a lot of love. I've got to reach out to someone who I ethnically don't like; I reach out to someone who's in tremendous need who might put me in a position to get hurt in the next several miles of this road. And then, of course, Jesus teaches, yeah, but I want you to be loving towards even your enemies. And so, boy, there's all kinds of real challenges in this. Love of God and neighbor? It's standard, but I think it almost comes too easily off our lips. It's a major challenge in the Christian faith.

Answer by Dr. Matt Friedeman

Dr. Matt Friedeman is Professor of Evangelism and Christian Education at Wesley Biblical Seminary.