Jesus prefaces the most important law (12:30) and the second most important law (12:31) with a declaration of who God is (12:29). How does the doctrine of God (His character, nature, attributes) serve as a foundation for God’s law, and for our obligation to obey it?
Jesus says that the two most important laws are to love God and love other people - instead loving ourselves. Would you agree that selfishness in at the heart of all sin? Why or why not?
How does the doctrine of the image of God (that all people are created in God’s image, and therefore possess inherent value and dignity) speak to the sin of racism?
How does the royal law (You shall love your neighbor as yourself) speak to race relations? What does it look like to love your neighbor (particularly a neighbor of a different race) as yourself?
Many slaveowners and racists throughout history have identified as Christians. (Presumably, many of them genuinely thought that they were living for God, despite participating in these grievous sins.) Sin often operates deceitfully, and makes us blind to its presence in our hearts. Why do you think this is? Are there areas where you might be vulnerable to sin’s blind spots in your life?
Many slave traders in northern America profited from selling slaves to slave owners in southern America. All the while, many of them claimed to be against slavery, and felt morally superior to those in support of slavery. How does this speak to the dangers of self-righteousness? And to the dangers of comparing ourselves to one another (instead of comparing ourselves to Christ’s righteousness)?
Where might we be guilty, in our lives today, of violating the royal law, and failing to love our neighbors as ourselves (in general)? Where might we personally be guilt of the sin of racism (in particular)?
Do you think the significant differences in resources between whites and blacks in America (for example, a 7x disparity in average household wealth) are related to slavery, racial segregation, and discrimination? If so, what do you think can be done about it: