The Greatest Commandments
Many times I hear Christians saying that the two greatest commandments that Jesus gave replaces the ten commandments of the Old Testament. Is this true? In a word, no! Because Jesus was merely summing up the ten commandments, not replacing them. It's so clear when you study the New Testament, that Jesus exalted the ten commandments and gave new meaning to them. He did not do away with them and replace them with "another law".
Matthew 22:37-40 ...'Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'
Did you know that Jesus above is quoting from the Old Testament? And that these same words were given to Israel right after the law was given? ... Deuteronomy 6:5 ...'And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.' ... So tell me this. If Jesus was replacing the ten commandments with the two greatest commandments, then how come we also find the greatest commandment in the Old Testament, right after the law was given? The truth is, Jesus was showing us the CONTINUATION of God's moral law found in the Old Testament and summing it up as a LAW OF LOVE, not replacing it. Of course we are talking about the moral law here, not the ceremonial laws which Christ did away with at the cross (Colossians 2:14).
The Pharisees were very meticulous about keeping the laws of God, ALL 613 of them. But the problem was, they lost sight of the true meaning of their relationship with God, which was love. They completely lost sight of loving God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength, and the law just became this "thing they had to do" in order to be saved. Hence why they were very legalistic. Without that love for God, the external observance of God's Commandments becomes worthless legalism. THIS IS WHAT JESUS WHAT TEACHING THEM.
There must first be love in the heart before a person can, in the strength and by the grace of Christ, begin to keep the precepts of God's law. Obedience without love is worthless, which is exactly what the Pharisees practiced. But where love is present, a person will automatically set out to order his life in harmony with the will of God as expressed in His commandments (John 14:15; 15:10).
Obedience does not lead to love, but love DOES lead to obedience.
By saying "Love the Lord with all thy heart, soul and mind", Christ is revealing that the love of God, if truly present in us, will permeate every aspect of our being.