31 January, 2013
Evidence Of the Lack Of Love For God --- Part 5
"If you love me," says Christ, himself, "you will obey what I command." John 14:15.
"If anyone loves me—he will obey my teaching. He who does not love me—will not obey my teaching." John 14:23, 24.
"You are my friends—if you do whatever I command you." John 15:14.
"This is the love of God," says John, "that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." 1 John 5:3. That is, keeping his commandments is not grievous—when love is the principle.
You see, my friends, that obedience, cheerful, unconstrained obedience, is the grand test of your love to God. There is more stress laid upon this, in the Word of God, than, perhaps, upon any other—and therefore you should regard it the more.
Now, recollect, is there not at least some favorite SIN—which you willfully and knowingly indulge yourselves in? And are there not some self-denying mortifying DUTIES—which you dare to omit? And yet do you pretend that you love God? You pretend that you love him, though your love is directly opposite to this grand test, which he himself has appointed to test your love. You may have your excuses and evasions: you may plead the goodness of your hearts, even when your practice is sinful; you may plead the strength of temptation, the frailty of your nature, and a thousand other things; but plead what you will, this is an eternal truth, that if you habitually and willfully live in disobedience to the commandments of God—then you are entirely destitute of his love! And does not this flash conviction on some of your minds? Does not conscience tell you just now, that your love does not stand this test?
And now, upon a review of the whole—what do you think of yourselves? Does the love of God dwell in you—or does it not? that is, Do those characters of the lack of love belong to you—or do they not? If they do, it is all absurdity and delusion for you to flatter yourselves that you love him; for it is all one as if you should say,
"Lord, I love you—though my native enmity against you still remains unsubdued.
I love you above all—though my thoughts and affections are scattered among other things, and never fix upon you.
I love you above all—though I prefer a thousand things to you and your interest.
I love you above all—though I have no pleasure in conversing with you.
I love you above all—though I am not careful to please you!
That is, I love you above all, though I have all the marks of an enemy upon me!
Can anything be more absurd? Make such a profession of friendship as this to your fellow creatures, and see how they will take it! Will they believe that you really love them? No! common sense will teach them better. And will God, do you think, accept that as supreme love to him—which will not pass current for common friendship among mortals? Is he capable of being imposed upon by such inconsistent pretensions? No! "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked!" Galatians 6:7. Draw the peremptory conclusion, without any hesitation, that the love of God does not dwell in you!
And if this is your case, what do you think of it?
What a monstrous soul you have within you—which cannot love God!
Which cannot love supreme excellence, and all perfect beauty;
which cannot love the origin and author of all the excellence and beauty that you see scattered among the works of His hands;
which cannot love your divine Parent, the Author of your mortal frame;
which cannot love your prime Benefactor and gracious Redeemer;
which cannot love Him, "in whom you live, and move, and have your being, in whose hand your breath is, and whose are all your ways," and who alone is the proper happiness for your immortal spirit;
which can love a parent, a child, a friend, with all their infirities about them—but cannot love God;
which can love the world; which can love sensual and even sinful enjoyments, pleasures, riches, and honors—and yet cannot love God;
which can love everything that is lovely—but God, who is infinitely lovely;
which can love wisdom, justice, veracity, goodness, clemency, in creatures, where they are attended with many imperfections; and yet cannot love God, where they all center and shine in the highest perfection!
What a monster of a soul is this! Must it not be a devil—to be capable of such unnatural horrendous wickedness? Can you be easy, while you have such a soul within you? What a load of guilt must lie upon you!
If love to God is the fulfilling of the whole law—then the lack of love must be the breach of the whole law. You break it all at one blow! Your life is but one continued, uniform, uninterrupted series of sinning!
"If anyone does not love the Lord—that person is cursed!" 1 Corinthians 16:22