Ligon Duncan—the Chancellor/CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology—delivered the memorable clip above at the 2018 Together for the Gospel conference.
Loving our neighbor is hard. In fact, we can’t do it. If the gospel were “love your neighbor and live” it would be profoundly bad news. None of us loves our neighbor purely or perfectly. None of us loves our neighbor in the way Jesus taught in John 15: “Greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for his friends.”
But the good news of the gospel is that we have a neighbor who loved us and laid down his life for us. And this neighbor didn’t lay down his life for his friends, but for his enemies. We can enjoy God’s blessing and know his grace because our Savior obeyed the first and second great commandments for us. This good news releases us from condemnation and sets us free to love our neighbor as ourselves.
This truth is gloriously manifested every Lord’s Day around the communion table.
As we gather in Jesus’ name, we hear Jesus say the words “take and eat.” It’s as if Jesus, recalling the words from Genesis 3 about Eve “taking and eating” of the serpent’s fruit, says, “watch this, Satan!” Then he repeats the words by offering himself as a sacrifice: “take and eat. This is my body, given for you.” What were once words leading to condemnation are now, on the lips of Jesus, words of salvation. This is what enables us to love our neighbor. We’ve been set free from the bondage of sin to finally be who God made us to be. In Christ, we now image God again by loving him and our neighbors as ourselves. Brothers, let no one say that anyone can outdo us in love.