Without plagerizing the stackexchange website, I am just going to paraphrase the original question, then post my answer below.
How do you reconcile the following:
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [..] If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
The problem is that John 15:13 is out of context. If you look at it in context, what is Jesus talking about? His fellowship with one another.
NASB Translation: Note, this is shortly before he even lays down his own life for them at the cross.
12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17 This I command you, that you love one another.
Then in Mathew we see that this is answering the law: The Sermon on the Mount; The Beatitudes
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
In an earlier verse in Mathew you even see him commit a similar message to the crowd.
21 “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. 23 Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. 25 Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.
So is there two standards? No. It is the same standard, but the audience and the focus of the application is different.
Context is everything.
Because there seems to be confusion to make myself clear. One of these statements are direct instructions to the disciples, not to everyone. The other is a generalization to clarify the nature of the law.
To clarify the law side of this we see the clarity written in Romans Tools specific to Rom 12:
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20 “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
My point isn’t that you are to even worry about dieing or killing, but that is God’s concern. Take care of your friends and enemies.
Romans does an excellent job of clarifying such situations where people do not understand the teachings of Christ.
But let me go one further. When it comes to the law, was any man able to fulfill the law before Christ Jesus? Even now, the law has been fulfilled, and yet you try to be the lamb that God has already supplied.
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
The purpose of the Sermon on the Mount was to make known their salvation, which was reveled later through Paul.
So I stick with my original summary, context is everything.
The following is added to make clear some discussion points from below. For someone to claim that the way is “karma”, you have to throw away everything else about Christ Jesus.
Matthew 1: 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”
If the way was Karma, then why would we need someone to save us? The law should be sufficient.
Lets look at what Jesus is claimed to be and what he accepts.
Matthew 16: 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” 20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.
And lets look at
John 14: 1 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
So if The Way is Karma, then I am the Karma, the truth, and the life? Wrong. The way from Strong’s lexicon is the word ὁδός Hodos.
- way: travelled way, road; travellers way, journey, travelling
- course of conduct
- way (i.e. manner) of thinking, feeling, deciding
Jesus set the path, we follow. That is the meaning of the Way.
Also Karma has to ignore John the baptist. Now for the twisted mind that wants to call Jesus a martyr. Ignoring the fact that he was resurrected, and he knew he would be this also explains the view of him.
John 1: 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
But lets look at the law itself.
Romans 3: 19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.
31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
On verse 3 there are distinctly 2 different laws being described. Works of the flesh, which cannot provide righteousness, and the law of righteousness, which is made clear in Romans 4.
Rom 4: 1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. 8 “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.”
Apparently that the Journey of the Torah is not understood without Christ being the fulfillment of the law.
The discussions that followed:
Note that I won’t be copying the discussion here, but I got into a pretty heated debate on this.
Please note that I am harsh, I know it. But I generally sniff out trolls real fast, and I sniff out modern Sadducees (Those, who claim to be either Jew or Christian, who claim that there is no resurrection.) just as fast.
If you met me in person, you would be surprised at the restraint I exercise when I talk to people who either failed to express their problem with my statements, or fail to understand what I have stated.
The core of that is that communication problems are my trigger. I will fly off the handle more often when people are not making their problems clear than I am at their honest statement of “I just don’t believe you, so I am going to ignore you.” Hell, I would rather have a thousand people ignore me, than 10 that would mince and twist words that I am using.
Then calling out Non-Sequitor and Straw Man does not make clear what I am failing to express. If there is a missing step from a path of A, B, C, and you don’t see B, maybe you should make your questions very specific that you don’t understand what that B is or how I got to B.