If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.
Thoughts for Today:The English word "command" is translated from the Greek word ENTOLE. According to Vine's Expository Dictionary, it means: "an injunction, charge, precept, or commandment. It is the most frequent term and is used of moral and religious precepts." Paul used ENTOLE to indicate the directions he gave were not simply recommendations or good advice, but the words of an Apostle. Therefore, those who were spiritual would recognize that when he spoke, he did so with the full authority of the Lord.
Just as there is a New Covenant that replaces the Old Covenant, so too there are new commands to guide believers. In the Old Testament, commands were very specific. They regulated worship, what to eat, what not to eat, etc. As New Covenant believers, we are guided more by principles than by detailed instructions. We have been given the Holy Spirit, with "love" as our guiding light. John 13:35: "[Jesus speaking] A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
In the New Testament, commands are principles that show believers how to demonstrate the love God has placed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. While the Old Testament commandments were dealing with outward behavior, the New Testament examines the motivation of the heart Ð yet with the empowerment of a renewed heart and spirit. (Ezekiel 36:26-27: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.")
It is this "new" heart and spirit that allows us to recognize Paul's words as commands from the Lord. To an outsider they are just like any other, but to us they carry the full weight of instruction inspired by the almighty God.
Questions to Ponder:1 John 5:3, tell us: "In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome." God's commands are pretty simple: "As I have loved you, so you must love one another." How have you been expressing God's love to others in your life? What kind of a witness have you been? How can you show more of God's love?