Walking in Love

MEMORY SELECTION: “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” —Romans 14:13


LOVE must be the identifying characteristic of the new creature in Christ Jesus, and we have our Lord’s own instruction for this as recorded by Mark—the first commandment being, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (12:29,30), and the second commandment being, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”—vs. 31

And in his letter to the Corinthian brethren, the Apostle Paul extols the excellence of this most distinguishing feature of the child of God. He says, “Love is forbearing and kind. Love knows no jealousy. Love does not brag; is not conceited. She is not unmannerly, nor selfish, nor irritable, nor mindful of wrongs. She does not rejoice in injustice, but joyfully sides with the truth. She can overlook faults. She is full of trust, full of hope, full of endurance. Love never fails.” (I Cor. 13:4-8, Weymouth) We see, therefore, the sum total of all the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit manifested in the apostle’s exhortation. Love is patient, kind, generous, humble, courteous, unselfish, good-tempered, without guile, sincere, and righteous. Indeed, love is such a powerful attribute that it never fails as a vehicle of expression in the child of God.

As Paul points out in the context of this week’s lesson, the law of love operating in our hearts forbids us to stumble a brother. This is particularly important in the case where a brother may be new in the truth, or perhaps weaker along certain lines than we ourselves are. The apostle says, “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is make weak.”—vs. 21

Indeed, what an important lesson there is in that passage of scripture! For if we are seeking to be directed by the spirit of the truth, and to be guided by the spirit of a sound mind, we will, in turn, be controlled by the spirit of love in all things. The new creature in Christ Jesus will not want either to eat or drink anything that could be misinterpreted by others as being unchristian. And he would also not want either to act or speak in a manner that would be unbecoming to his position in the household of faith, or to cause a fellow brother to stumble or to lose faith. Paul’s line of reasoning suggests a high degree of responsibility and depth of consecration to the footstep follower of Christ.

We are living at a time when the spirit of liberty manifests itself on every hand. Some of this liberty is used for wise purposes; much of it, however, is either misdirected or exercised for selfish gain of one kind or another. We, as children of God, must be alert to use our liberties for the benefit of others and not for the purpose of doing them injury. In proportion to our degree of consecration, this proper balance of heart and mind will be manifested.

It is not our right to condemn others who may hold certain beliefs for conscience’ sake—whether it be feasts or fasts, new moons or holy days, eating meat or abstaining from eating meat, etc. The new creature is not under the Law, as was the Jew; however, some may find it difficult to separate themselves from preconceived opinions and practices that have been carried along for many years.

The apostle, no doubt, would like to have had a common ground of understanding among the members of the Early Church as respects the use of eating meat which had previously been offered to idols. But as there were differing degrees of spiritual perception among those with whom he was associated, he took the view that none should be ridiculed or shamed into violating their consciences.

And those of us who are living down here at the end of the Gospel Age also have the opportunity to lay aside some of our rights and privileges from time to time in the interest of the truth. Those who thus surrender their liberties in an endeavor to serve some of their weaker brethren according to the flesh, do so with the assurance that such activity is acceptable to God.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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