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Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Sums Up All Righteousness

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? And Jesus 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 (Matt. 22:36-40).”

Justin Martyr, Jesus Sums of RighteousnessJustin Martyr: “For God sets before every race of mankind that which is always and universally just, as well as all righteousness. Every race knows that adultery, and fornication, and homicide, and such things (Matt. 15:18-19; Mark 7:20-22, 10:19; Ex. 20:12-17; Deut. 5:16-21) are sinful; and though they all commit such practices, they still do not escape from the knowledge that they act unrighteously whenever they do so, except for those who are possessed with an unclean spirit and who have been debased by education, by wicked customs, by sinful institutions, and who have lost, or rather quenched and buried their natural conscience. For we may see that such persons are unwilling to submit to the same things which they inflict upon others, and reproach each other with hostile consciences for the acts which they perpetrate.

“Consequently, I think that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ spoke well when He summed up all righteousness and piety  in two commandments. They are these: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul and mind, and with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself (Mark 12:30-31, Matt. 22:37-39, Luke 10:27, Deut. 6:5).” For the man who loves God with all his heart and with all his strength, being filled with a God-fearing mind, will reverence no other god (Ex. 20:2-6, Deut. 5:6-11, Matt. 4:10, Luke 4:8)…. And the man who loves his neighbor as himself will wish for him the same good things that he wishes for himself, for no man will wish evil things for himself. Accordingly, he who loves his neighbor would pray and labor that his neighbor may be possessed of the same benefits as himself…. Therefore, since all righteousness is divided into two branches in so far as it regards God and men; whoever, says the Scripture, loves the Lord God with all the heart and all the strength, and his neighbor as himself, would be truly a righteous man.” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho Ch. 92, 132-135 A.D. Scripture references added for all who want to read these truths directly from the written and living Word of God.)

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