The American Bill of Rights was created over 200 years ago, and it is still the basis of our legal freedoms—including the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right of due process, and the right of a trial by a jury of our peers. These rights and privileges serve as a framework for us to live together in relative peace. Ancient Israel counted 613 laws God gave them on how to worship Him and get along with each other. With so many laws, the rabbis tried to decide which were major and which were minor. We read in Mark chapter 12 where Jesus summarized all the laws when He said: “The most important commandment is this, ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Of course, we humans have failed miserably in living up to these simple but profound laws. That is why God sent His Son into the world to atone for our failure. We celebrate that our salvation as a gracious gift of God that comes through faith in His Son. Still, these fundamental values constitute God’s aspiration for people—love Him with all our total being, and love others as we love ourselves.
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