3) ...in the New Covenant (B)

3.3.3 The object of Christian love in the light of the New Covenant (B)

However, this love does not exist in a vacuum and although Paul’s primary concern is that we have agapê, the Christian is living as part of a New Covenant People, in a community of brethren and this is the main context for demonstrating this love. So although in principle this love is universal,

…nevertheless the sheer weight of statistics, as well as the explicit Gal 6:10 [especially to those who are of the household of faith], shows that for Paul christian agapê is pre-eminently love of one’s christian brethren.p.145

So how broad is “neighbour”? Although “love one’s enemy is the hallmark of Jesus’ teaching.”p.146 Jesus very mission was to form a community who uniquely are his brethren, and his love command was primarily within the group of disciples.

In Old Testament prophecy about the future community of God’s people, there would be a centripetal movement (from the outside towards the centre) of Gentiles to the community. For Paul the church is the hope of mankind and “It is this that explains his constant concern that christians conduct themselves well in the eyes of ‘outsiders’.”p.147

Updated 2009-10-20 (build:63) by Andrew Fountain