There are many “one another” statements in the Bible, but in the ‘negative commands’ we find hindrances to loving one another and hindrances to fellowship. These negative injunctions stress and point to what we naturally tend to do without the exchanged life of Christ, without the life-changing power of the Lord, the ministry of the Spirit, and daily renewal in the Word.
Do Not Judge One Another
“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way” (Rom 14:13).
Do Not have Lawsuits With One Another
“Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?” (1 Cor. 6:7)
Do Not Bite and Devour One Another
“But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another” (Gal. 5:15).
Do Not Challenge and Envy One Another
“Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another” (Gal. 5:26).
Do Not Speak Evil or Complain Against One Another
“Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge of it” (James 4:11).
“Do not complain, brethren, against one another, that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door” (James 5:9).
Do Not Seek Glory from One Another
“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” (John 5:44).
While this command was addressed to the unbelieving religious leaders in Israel, there is a principle here that obviously applies to us all, and is tremendously important to the entire process of our ability to love one another.
In John 5:37-40 these Jews were studious and knew the Old Testament Scriptures, but they had missed the purpose of Scripture and had become self-righteous and proud of their knowledge. Failing to see their sinfulness they were self-confident externalists who sought acceptance with God and the praise of men by their legalistic obedience to the Law. They failed to see their need of the cross and a suffering Savior.
Because they failed to see their sinfulness and weakness, they saw no need for faith in Christ. There was also no genuine love for God in them because of their pride and self-love (John 5:42). What they did religiously, they did for their own glory and admiration from men as chapters 6 and 23 of Matthew make perfectly clear.
John 5:44 points us to the heart of the problem. John writes: “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?”
They were seeking glory from men or from one another. Without awareness and recognition of our sinfulness and need, without faith in God’s Son and the cross, without truly resting in who we are in Christ and His acceptance of us, we are left to justify ourselves and find our sense of security and significance from people. When we seek glory from one another, we are unable to love one another in the biblical sense according to the character of the Word. Rather, we become engrossed with such things as
Performance: How do I do?
Appearance: How do I look?
Status: How important am I?
The religious leaders did not approve of Christ’s act of love when he healed the sick man on the Sabbath. Rather, they were infuriated because Christ had broken the Sabbath. They failed to see that the Sabbath according to God’s purpose as a blessing for man (Mark 2:27). Their self-righteousness had blinded them to the ultimate goal of Scripture—love for God and love for man.