Loving God by Loving Christ
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (v. 37).- Matthew 10:37–39
Love for God is on the lips of people all throughout society today. Atheists are in the minority, for we hear of love for God from both those who are adherents of an institutionalized religion and those who are merely “spiritual.” Muslims claim that they love God, as do Jews. Even those who rarely, if ever, attend worship services “pray to God,” or at least they profess as much.
Human beings are inherently religious, but the biblical perspective on all of the aforementioned people is that they are committing idolatry. Serving any other deity but the one true God and covenant Lord of Israel is to worship a false god, a god who is made in our image (Deut. 5:7). Moreover, the only way to love the one true God and covenant Lord of Israel is to love His Son, who is of one essence with the Father. There is only one way to shun idolatry, and it is to trust Christ alone, loving Him above all else.
This is a remarkable truth that Scripture teaches us in many ways. In today’s passage, for example, Jesus describes Himself in a way that indicates He is no mere creature. Our Savior demands that we love Him above all else, even our closest relatives (Matt. 10:37–39). Any ordinary creature who would dare make this claim would be guilty of inviting others to commit idolatry, for only God can demand absolute allegiance (Ex. 20:3). But Christ demands that we love Him far more than any other person, indicating His equality with God. He is the God-man, the final revelation of our Creator, and loving Him above all else is the only way to stand guiltless of idolatry and safe in the day of judgment (John 1:1–18).
Question and answer 94 of the Heidelberg Catechism finish up an exposition of the first commandment by telling us that we must “give up anything rather than go against God’s will in any way.” Jesus explains what this means: “Whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:38–39). We are called to fulfill the Lord’s will by surrendering our wills to Him. Worshipping God truly means that we refuse to love anything more than the blessed Trinity, the Father who so loved the world that He gave His Son and sent His Spirit for His people.
Adherents of other religions may do many good deeds in the name of God. They may even think that they are praying to Him when they beseech the Creator. But in doing all these things, they are really committing idolatry. There is only one way to worship and serve the one true God: through His Son Jesus Christ. We must, therefore, love Him for the entirety of our lives and call others to do the same.
Passages for Further Study
John 5:18; 6:51–59