Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 19, 1955

Love — No. 2

Connie W. Adams, Atlanta, Georgia

That God loved humanity has been manifested in many ways. Man is made in the image of God. He has been endowed with intelligence. At his command are the components of nature. God has regulated the seasons in such fashion as to serve the best interest of His creatures. God has revealed His will to men through the agency of the Spirit as He guided the prophets of old and the New Testament writers. He has made known His extreme interest in the welfare of men by the sending of His Son, Jesus, to offer himself as a sacrifice that men might be reconciled to God. All of these but testify to the fact of God's great love for us all. And since God has shown His love in so many ways, we must learn the meaning and applications of love, else we cannot be godly. Our love must be pointed in several directions if we please our Maker. When we learn to love properly in these directions we shall be duplicating the manner of God's love.

Love For God

In considering the various objects of our love, first must be our love for God. We are not our own, we are His, and the greatness of His love for us stirs us to an effort to return that love. But what is love for God? Can it be a mental attitude that never takes action? Or will true love for God reveal itself in our conduct? "And this is love, that we walk after his commandments." (2 John 6. "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous."." (1 John 5:3.) Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15.) Furthermore, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." (John 14:23,24.) Genuine love for God always manifest itself in the doing of the will of God. Since God's mind is made known to us in the scriptures, there is no such thing as loving God without obeying the requirements of the scriptures. This is almost universally disregarded among the sects of men. They cry long and loud about love but constantly refuse to obey certain charges of the scriptures. Such men as Billy Graham speak much of love, and yet he refuses to honor the command of Christ relative to baptism. He who adds to God's commandments fails to "keep" them just as much so as the man who omits the divine oration. Those of us who are no longer shackled by sectarianism need to constantly remember that failure to obey the teaching of God demonstrates a defective love for Him.

Love For Brethren

"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also." (1 John 4:20,21.) Men who do not love one another do not love God either. Think how much of the New Testament is devoted to teaching brethren how to get along with each other. "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another." (Rom. 12:10.) In these days when issues are being discussed, often heatedly, let us not lose sight of the meaning of brotherly love. "Love work-eth no ill to his neighbor." (Rom. 13:10.) One may speak of love for his brethren, but if he uses every opportunity to wrong them he works ill toward them and thus does not really love them at all. Peter spoke of "unfeigned love of the brethren." (1 Peter 1:22.) Feigned love is pretended love, that kind of conduct that makes a show of love but is not genuine. Sometimes brethren will be overly sweet to one another when together but belittle and low-rate each other when separated. This writer cannot see how brethren can love one another and then say such things about them as we read nearly every week in some of the journals published by brethren. It cannot be denied that many expressions of hate have gazed upward from many pages in the recent past. And while we are "at it" let it be remarked that neither side of the present controversy has remained spotless in this respect. Furthermore, it is increasingly astonishing to find such a sluice of hate in the pages of a journal that has thought itself to be an epistle of love and that comes from "the city of brotherly love" (not Philadelphia either). Do not suppose that this is opposed to the pointing out of error whenever it is seen. Brethren err for we are human. And it should not be mistaken as a sign of hatred should a brother take exception to something we might write or say. But when the attacks shift from the point at issue to the personality and character of the one supposed to be in error, then it is evident that such an attacker is more concerned with personal prestige and personal victory than he is with truth. Now, when brethren resort to tagging others with titles and names they know do not in any way fit those so labeled, is it not a manifestation of something besides love? Love "doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own." (1 Cor. 13:5.)

In searching for truth, let us love one another. Of course, points must be stressed. False premises and conclusions must be revealed and those who are in error should be admonished to forsake it and cleave to the truth, but in it all let it not be forgotten that we are still brethren.

The next and concluding article will deal with love for the truth.