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Sine Qua Non

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si·ne qua non (ˌsinā ˌkwä ˈnōn,ˌsinē ˌkwä ˈnän/), noun, meaning: 1. an essential condition; a thing that is absolutely necessary.

There are numerous sine qua nons to our faith, things which are essential conditions, without which we cannot really have true Christian faith. Two of them (one and the same, really) are: A. Love your neighbour as yourself, and B. Love your fellow brother or sister in Christ.

Why are they really "one and the same?"

While Jesus reduces the entirety of the Old Testament law down to two: 

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.
— Matthew 22:36-40

Paul, by the direction of the Holy Spirit, resolves it down to a single one: 

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
— Galatians 5:14

Does this eliminate loving God first? No. Rather, as He says in 1 John 4:

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
— 1 John 4:20-21

So we see that God Himself has tethered these two: We cannot claim to love Him if we don't also love our brother / sister / neighbour.  

And all this leads us to a question: How do we do this? And here He helps us by using a phrase 100 times in 94 verses of the New Testament, the "one another" statements. Another site conveniently summarized them this way: 

When you look at these verses, a few more common themes show up.

Unity. One-third of the one-another commands deal with the unity of the church.

  1. Be at peace with one another (Mk 9:50)
  2. Don’t grumble among one another (Jn 6:43)
  3. Be of the same mind with one another (Ro 12:1615:5)
  4. Accept one another (Ro 15:7)
  5. Wait for one another before beginning the Eucharist (1 Co 11:33)
  6. Don’t bite, devour, and consume one another—seriously, guys, don’t eat each other (Ga 5:15)
  7. Don’t boastfully challenge or envy one another (Ga 5:26).
  8. Gently, patiently tolerate one another (Ep 4:2)
  9. Be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to one another (Ep 4:32)
  10. Bear with and forgive one another (Co 3:13)
  11. Seek good for one another, and don’t repay evil for evil (1 Th 5:15)
  12. Don’t complain against one another (Jas 4:115:9)
  13. Confess sins to one another (Jas 5:16)

Love. One-third of them instruct Christians to love one another.

  1. Love one another (Jn 13:3415:1217Ro 13:81 Th 3:124:91 Pe 1:221 Jn 3:114:7112 Jn 5)
  2. Through love, serve one another (Ga 5:13)
  3. Tolerate one another in love (Ep 4:2)
  4. Greet one another with a kiss of love (1 Pe 5:14)
  5. Be devoted to one another in love (Ro 12:10)

Humility. About 15% stress an attitude of humility and deference among believers.

  1. Give preference to one another in honor (Ro 12:10)
  2. Regard one another as more important than yourselves (Php 2:3)
  3. Serve one another (Ga 5:13)
  4. Wash one another’s feet (Jn 13:14)
  5. Don’t be haughty: be of the same mind (Ro 12:16)
  6. Be subject to one another (Ep 5:21)
  7. Clothe yourselves in humility toward one another (1 Pe 5:5)

Here’s the rest:

  1. Do not judge one another, and don’t put a stumbling block in a brother’s way (Ro 14:13)
  2. Greet one another with a kiss (Ro 16:161 Co 16:202 Co 13:12)
  3. Husbands and wives: don’t deprive one another of physical intimacy (1 Co 7:5)
  4. Bear one another’s burdens (Ga 6:2)
  5. Speak truth to one another (Ep 4:25)
  6. Don’t lie to one another (Co 3:9)
  7. Comfort one another concerning the resurrection (1 Th 4:18)
  8. Encourage and build up one another (1 Th 5:11)
  9. Stimulate one another to love and good deeds (He 10:24)
  10. Pray for one another (Jas 5:16)
  11. Be hospitable to one another (1 Pe 4:9)

Be sure to read them in context, and especially with regard to the cultural context...which will be especially important with 1 Peter 5:14! 

God bless you - and your brother/sister/neighbour - as you practice these! 

Sincerely, 

PC