Love—The Law of the Kingdom

KEY VERSE: “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law.” —Romans 13:10

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Romans 13:1-8, 10-14

IF IT were not for God’s love for the rebellious and sin-cursed human family, there would be no divine plan of the ages for their recovery and blessing. True, the other qualities of wisdom, justice, and power, of his righteous and benevolent character must be employed to this same end. But it was his love for us, the church of Christ, and for all mankind, that provided the “unspeakable gift” of his only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior, as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And this provision was made “while we were yet sinners,” without our first having shown a disposition and desire for reconciliation, for at-one-ment with him.—II Cor. 9:15; John 14:6; Rom. 5:8

If our Heavenly Father were merely exercised by his inexorable justice, our lives would be forfeited, and we truly would be without hope in this world. His power we could not doubt, but knowing him to be a God of love supreme, what could we think of his wisdom in permitting us thus to have these innate desires for right and the truth, and to exercise ourselves benevolently and sacrificially, only to be blotted out of existence? Our desire to know righteousness and truth would avail us nothing, and be without meaning, could we not see and realize the fruition of our hopes and desires. What benefit would we personally derive if the only result of living was to leave “footprints on the sand of time”?

The love which is of God, disclosed by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13, transcends all other loves, for it is the very nature and being of God. As the Apostle John puts it, “God IS love (Greek, agape).” As we are controlled by it, we, too, indicate our Godlikeness. That we could ever reach its fullness and perfection while still in these imperfect vehicles of expression—these frail, perishable bodies—is unthinkable; but we have it ever before us as the criterion, the standard toward which we are ever to strive; for if we do not thus strive to attain it, how can we expect to be in fellowship and association with our Heavenly Father and his now divine Son, to share with him in the “dispensation of the fullness of times”?—Eph. 1:10

The apostle suggests that we might have all knowledge and mountain-removing faith, and a totally self-sacrificing disposition, and yet fail to achieve this goal of Godlikeness in thought, word, and deed. In our desire to qualify for a place in the divine kingdom of our Lord, we might be inclined to place the emphasis on study. Study is very essential, to be sure, but to what end is that study?

We might think to place the emphasis on self-sacrifice. That is good indeed, but the apostle warns us that we might give our bodies to be burned and we might give everything we possess to feed the poor, and still be found lacking. This kind of love involves demonstration under trial and test, under suffering and adversity. Our sacrifice entails not only material loss, but additionally suffering, ignominy, and reproach for his name’s sake. Only if we suffer with him shall we reign with him.

There is still another great obstacle we need to bear in mind in considering the development of this divine attribute of love, and that has to do with self. Surely, if we have reached the point of perfect love, self should not enter into our consideration; but strive as we may, it will obtrude itself at times. Think how much is involved in this little word! All the besetments of our fallen humanity, the influence of the world and the wiles of the Adversary are focused on us.

Divine love, if fully controlling our hearts and lives will enable us to triumph where other qualities might fail in overcoming the fallen propensities which are in conflict with our spiritual lives and interests.

If this divine attribute of love, agape, the pinnacle of character development (II Pet. 1:7), motivates us in everything we think, say, or do—which is not impossible if we are set and determined to have it so—then whatever material loss we might suffer, or however intense the physical or mental pain we might be called upon to endure, will be seen to be a means to an enduring end, to refine, polish, and prepare us for “the glory that excelleth,” the “glory and honor and immortality, eternal life” beyond this veil of tears, and a place in God’s kingdom.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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