GOD’S LAW AND HUMAN LOVE
Man talks much about loving God. Where does the evidence lie? The proof is not in folded hands and a pious look, a coffee table graced with a family Bible, a soft sweet voice, or a “Honk if you love Jesus bumper sticker.”
There is only one way for man to demonstrate his love for God. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). “If a man loves me, he will keep my words.” (John 14:23). “Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” (John 14:24). “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3). Therefore, any man that claims to love God and persistently refuses to comply with any aspect of his law, “ . . . is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4)
Love is not a mere sentiment. It is not emotion running wild. It is not unrestrained affection. Love centers in the mind, the thinking, the reasoning, knowing part of man and reaches out to embrace every aspect of his being. Thus man is to love God with all his “heart, mind and soul.” (Matthew 22:37).
Love and knowledge are inseparable. Paul speaks of love abounding in knowledge (Philippians 1:9). Growth in one’s knowledge of God’s nature, ways and works, leads to a continual maturing of love and gratitude that subsequently is exhibited in willing submission to God’s law.
The nature of both man and love necessitated a law in Eden. Eliminate Genesis 2:17 and man is reduced to a robot of flesh, divinely programmed to perform certain tasks void of choice. However, the presence of law provided choice which inheres in free moral agency and a means whereby man could display his love for God.
Consequently, the absence of law nullifies the very nature of man, for both free moral agency and love demand choice and a means of expression. Viewing divine law as being hostile to love and grace is ludicrous. Having giving laws to promote man’s happiness and well-being is God’s way of saying, “I love you” in addition to providing a basis for man to respond in kind.
LAW AND HUMAN LOVE (2)
There is an irrevocable connection between love for God and compliance with his law. Jesus said, “if you love me keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) One can talk about loving God from now on, but until he demonstrates his love by doing what God says he is merely beating the air with words.
Persistence in sin and love for God cannot abide in the same heart. The people of Noah’s day perished because love for God had been replaced by love for sin. Love for God motivates hatred for sin and exclaims with David, “Oh, how I love your law; it is my meditation all the day.” (Psalms 119:97). Conversely, Judah had ceased to love God and thus, they “despised the law of the Lord.” (Amos 2:4) one’s attitude toward God’s law is one’s attitude toward God.
Jesus said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words.” (John 14:23). Therefore, no man can genuinely love God with all his being and go to his grave arguing over the one church, the necessity of baptism for salvation and the need to worship and serve God in harmony with his will as set forth in the New Testament.
John declared, “. . . for this is the love of God that we keep his commandments.” (1 John 5 :3). Consequently, no member of the church can truthfully love God without eagerly submitting to the law of God relative to faithfulness in worship, concern for the lost, liberal giving, modest attire, daily Bible study, and other requirements of New Testament Christianity.
One may comply with certain imperatives of the gospel without love. He may even ascend to the pinnacle of self-sacrifice by devoting all his material wealth to the poor and suffer a martyr’s death and, “. . . have not love.” (1st Corinthians 13:3).
However, it is not possible to love God without yielding to his will. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO MANIFEST LOVE FOR GOD. Through law, an expression of God’s love for man, God has provided a means whereby man might demonstrate his love for God.
Frank Chesser Via The Treasure of Truth, Dasher church of Christ 1986