The New Life: Words of God for Young Disciples of Christ
BY Rev. Andrew Murray
Chapter 16 Love
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another" kjv@John:13:34-35.
"Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" kjv@Romans:13:10.
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us" kjv@1John:4:11-12.
In the word of Micah, in the previous section, righteousness is the first thing which God demands. To love mercy is the second. Righteousness stood more in the foreground in the Old Testament. Love is first seen as supreme in the New Testament. Passages to this effect are not difficult to find. In the advent of Jesus, the love of God is first revealed, the new, eternal life is first given, and we become children of the Father and kindred to each other. On this ground the Lord can then, for the first time, speak of the New Commandment--the commandment of brotherly love. Righteousness is not required less in the New Testament than in the Old ( kjv@Matthew:5:6 kjv@Matthew:5:17 kjv@Matthew:5:20 kjv@Matthew:6:33). Yet the burden of the New Testament is that we have been given a power for love which was unattainable in the early days ( kjv@Romans:5:5 kjv@Galatians:5:22 kjv@1Thessalonians:4:9 kjv@1John:4:11 kjv@John:13:34).
Let every Christian take it deeply to heart that in the first and the great commandment--the new commandment given by Jesus at His departure--the unique characteristic of a disciple of Jesus is brotherly love. And let him, with his whole heart, yield himself to Him to obey that command. For the right exercise of this brotherly love, one must pay attention to more than one thing.
Love of the brethren arises from the love of the Father. By the Holy Spirit, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, and the wonderful love of the Father is unveiled to us, so that His love becomes the life and the joy of our soul. Our love of God springs out of the fountain of His love for us ( kjv@Romans:5:5 kjv@1John:4:19). And our love of Him naturally causes us to love the brethren ( kjv@Ephesians:4:2 kjv@Ephesians:4:6 kjv@Ephesians:5:1-2 kjv@1John:3:1 kjv@1John:4:7 kjv@1John:4:20 kjv@1John:5:1). Do not attempt to fulfil the commandment of brotherly love by yourselves--you are not in a position to do this. But believe that the Holy Spirit, who is in you to make known the love of God to you, also certainly enables you to yield this love. Never say, "I feel no love. I do not feel as if I can forgive this man." Your decision to act should not be based on feelings. Rather, it is your duty to believe the command and to have faith in God to give you the power with which to obey the command. In obedience to the Father--with the choice of your will, and in faith that the Holy Spirit gives you power--begin to say, "I will love him. I do love him." The feeling will follow the faith. Grace gives power for all that the Father asks of you ( kjv@Matthew:5:44-45 kjv@Galatians:2:20 kjv@1Thessalonians:3:12-13 kjv@1Thessalonians:5:24 kjv@Philippians:4:13 kjv@1Peter:1:22).
Brotherly love has its measure and rule in the love of Jesus. "This is My commandment, that yea love one another, as I have loved you." ( kjv@Luke:22:26-27 kjv@John:13:14-15 kjv@John:13:34 kjv@Colossians:2:13). The eternal life that works in us is the life of Jesus. It knows no other law than what we see in Him. It works with power in us what it worked in Him. Jesus Himself lives in us, and loves in and through us. We must believe in the power of this love in us, and, in that faith, love as He loved. Do believe that this is true salvation--to love even as Jesus loves.
Brotherly love must be in deed and in truth ( kjv@Matthew:12:50 kjv@Matthew:25:40 kjv@Romans:13:10 kjv@1Corinthians:7:19 kjv@Galatians:5:6 kjv@James:2:15-16 kjv@1John:3:16-18). It is not mere feeling. The power in Christ arises from faith which works by love. It manifests itself in all the Christ-like characteristics that are specified in the Word of God. Contemplate its glorious image in kjv@1Corinthians:13:4-7. Notice all the glorious encouragements to gentleness, to longsuffering, to mercy ( kjv@Galatians:5:22 kjv@Ephesians:4:2 kjv@Ephesians:4:32 kjv@Philippians:2:2-3 kjv@Colossians:3:12 kjv@2Thessalonians:1:3). In all your conduct, let it be seen that the love of Christ lives in you. Let your love be a helpful, self-sacrificing love--like that of Jesus. Hold all children of God, however sinful or wrong they may be, fervently dear. Let your love for them teach you to love all men ( kjv@Luke:6:32 kjv@Luke:6:35 kjv@1Peter:1:22 kjv@2Peter:1:7). Show your family, the Church, and the world that within you "love is greatest" ( kjv@1Corinthians:13:13). Show all that the love of God has a full dwelling and a free working in your life.
Christian, God is love. Jesus is the gift of this love-to bring love to you, to transplant you into that life of godlike love. Live in that faith, and you will not complain that you have no power to love. The love of the Spirit will be your power and your life.
Beloved Saviour, I discern more clearly that the whole of the new life is a life in love. You are the Son of God's love--the gift of His love--who has come to introduce us into His love, and give us a dwelling there. And the Holy Spirit is given to shed abroad the love of God in our hearts, to open a spring out of which love will stream to You and to the believers and to all mankind. Lord, here am I, one redeemed by love, to live for it and, in its might, to love all. Amen.
1. Those who reject the Word of God sometimes say that it is of no importance what we believe if we but have love, and so they are for making love the one condition of salvation. In their zeal against this view, the orthodox party have sometimes presented faith in justification, as if love were not of so much importance. This is likely to be very dangerous. God is love. His Son is the gift, the bringer, of His love to us. The Spirit sheds the love of God in the heart. The new life is a life in love. Love is the greatest thing. Let it be the chief element in our life--true love which is known in the keeping of God's commandments (see kjv@1John:3:10,23,24; 5:2).
2. Do not wonder why I have said that you must love even though you do not feel the least bit of love. Not the feeling, but the will, is your power. It is not in your feeling, but in your faith, that the Spirit in you is the power of your will to work in you all that the Father bids you. Therefore, although you feel
absolutely no love for your enemy, say in the obedience of faith, "Father, I love him; in faith in the hidden working of the Spirit in my heart, I do love him.
3. Do not think that this is love, if you wish no evil to anyone, or if you should be willing to help, if he were in need. No, love is much more. Love is His love. Love is the disposition with which God addressed you when you were His enemy, and afterward ran to you with tender longing to caress you.
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