“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,” (Eph 1:15)
You can’t love Jesus while hating your brother. Notice Paul combines these two ideas — your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints. These ideas are not combined by accident. Rather they are combined on purpose.
But why? Why should faith in Jesus produce love towards others?
Our faith in Christ changes our identity.
- We are now adopted sons and daughters through Christ (Eph 1:5).
- God’s wisdom and insight are lavished upon us through which He makes known to us the mystery of His will, which is to unite all things (Eph 1:8-10).
- Furthermore, we have obtained an inheritance, which indicates we are a part of a new family (Eph 1:11-12). Our inheritance is even guaranteed by the third member of the Trinity — the Spirit (Eph 1:13-14).
- Moreover, we are released from our former manner of life, so that we now live a new life in Christ that is the antithesis of the passions of our flesh (Eph 2:1-3).
- God has even seated us with Christ in the heavenly places, insinuating that we are not just adopted sons and daughters, who have been changed to follow a new course of life, but we are kings and queens who reign and rule next to the eternal all-powerful King of the universe (Eph 2:4-6).
Our new life in Christ should produce unity. Paul’s argument in this section drives towards that conclusion. Verse 16 of chapter 2 says it explicitly —
“and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Eph 2:16).
The hostility he mentions primarily deals with the divide between Jew and Gentile. Through Christ, we are made one in Christ. We are both — Jew and Gentile — citizens of a new kingdom in which we are united (Eph 2:19).
While Paul’s argument deals firstly with the divide, and subsequent unity in Christ, between Jew and Gentile, the outworking of our unity as citizens of a new kingdom is love for one another. As citizens of a new kingdom we are to have camaraderie with one another. More than camaraderie we are to work together. More than just working together, we are to love one another. We are capable of loving one another because we have been freed from our past life, which was dominated by the prince of the power of the air and our own flesh (Eph 2:1-3).
As citizens of a new kingdom, freed from sin and Satan’s control, having our desires changed, and given a new identity in Christ, we can and we should love one another.
You can’t love Jesus while hating your brother.