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    December 1, 1890

    “The Love of God” The Signs of the Times, 16, 47.

    E. J. Waggoner

    God is love. It is not simply that he has love in large measure for his creatures, but he is love. He is the embodiment of love. To love is a part of his nature, and this love manifests itself in devising plans for the perfect happiness of all created beings, both in heaven and on earth. It was shown in the garden of delights, Paradise, which he planted upon the earth that was already exceedingly good, for the pleasure of the man whom he had made. And in infinite measure was his love manifested when he gave all that heaven had to bestow for the reclaiming of fallen man.SITI December 1, 1890, page 547.3

    But while God is love, it is a fact that between man and God there is not perfect harmony. Indeed, in man’s natural state there is not the least harmony between him and God. The apostle Paul puts this very emphatically when he says: “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Romans 8:7. It will be noticed from this that the enmity is all on the side of man; the carnal mind is enmity against God. And the cause of this enmity lies in the fact that the law of God, which is the law of love, is regarded by man as a yoke of bondage. God’s law is the verbal picture of his pure and holy character; it is an expression of the love that springs naturally from his heart. But “out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, theft, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.” Mark 7:21, 22. Hence the enmity against God.SITI December 1, 1890, page 547.4

    The prophet Isaiah says, in language that will apply to all men as well as to ancient Israel: “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come forever and ever; that this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord.” Isaiah 30:8, 9. This is man’s position. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Romans 5:8-10.SITI December 1, 1890, page 547.5

    Throughout the Bible it will be found that the testimony is the same: the enmity is all on the side of man. This is shown by these words of the apostle:-SITI December 1, 1890, page 547.6

    “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:19, 20.SITI December 1, 1890, page 547.7

    This is very emphatic. Man is the enemy of God; God is the friend of mankind, entreating them to become reconciled to him. nd the depths of God’s love for the sinful, rebellious world is shown in the next verse: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Although the offense was all on the part of man, God has made all the effort possible even to infinite power to have him become reconciled. On the part of man there is enmity; on the part of God there is an infinite tenderness, and a longing to have the rebellious children become reconciled to him.SITI December 1, 1890, page 547.8

    The same truth concerning the enmity of man and the love of God is brought out in Colossians 1:19-22. Speaking of Christ, the apostle says:-SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.1

    “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.”SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.2

    After Christ had suffered for our sins which alienated us from God, he ascended into the heavens, “there to appear in the presence of God for us,” and is now sitting upon his Father’s throne. Revelation 3:21. Of his work there the prophet Zechariah thus speaks:-SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.3

    “Thus speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord; even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” Zechariah 6:12, 13.SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.4

    This presents a wonderful scene,-the Father and the Son counseling together for the peace of mankind, the great mass of whom choose rebellion rather than peace. Instead of loving peace and happiness, they, after their hardness and impenitent hearts, not knowing that the goodness of God leads them to repentance, treasure up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.5

    For a day of wrath will surely come. God is long-suffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, but he will not force men to repent and become reconciled. His love draws men to him; but there are many who resist the movings of the Spirit, and will not be drawn. As the same sun that melts the wax also hardens the clay, so the same love that destroys the enmity in some hearts only increases it in others. The simile is of course not perfect, for while it is natural for the clay to become hardened by the sun, it is unnatural for human hearts to be hardened by God’s grace. Hearts could not fail to be melted into tenderness by the tender, unfathomable love of God, if they did not steel themselves against it. And so when even infinite love fails to reconcile the rebellious subjects, there is nothing left but to cut them off as useless cumberers of the ground.SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.6

    In two passages of Scripture the long-suffering of God is represented by the figure of a husbandman trying to develop good fruit from his garden. Says Isaiah:-SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.7

    “Now will I sing to my well-beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill; and he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein; and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.” Isaiah 5:1, 2.SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.8

    See also Luke 13:7-9.SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.9

    Thus is shown God’s unwillingness to cut off even the most unfruitful plant, so that he can say: “Judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done to it.” Isaiah 5:3, 4. The gnarled, crooked natures of some will resist all the efforts of the faithful husbandman to induce them to bear good fruit, or any fruit at all, and since they bear only thorns and briers, there is nothing to do with them but to burn them. So the Lord says of his unfruitful vineyard:-SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.10

    “And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down; and I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.” Isaiah 5:5, 6.SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.11

    And of the unfruitful plants he says:-SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.12

    “Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust; because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.” Verse 24.SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.13

    At that time the counsel of peace between the Father and the Son will have ceased. The word of reconciliation will no longer be preached, because all will have become reconciled to God who could by any possibility be reconciled. Reconciliation will then give place to controversy, for that time of burning will be “the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.”SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.14

    The controversy is now between the Lord and Satan for the possession of the souls of men. In proportion as men resist the strivings of God’s Spirit, they place themselves on the side of Satan, and become actuated by his spirit. And when by continued sin, and repeated resistance of the Spirit of God, they have finally driven it from them, have blotted out every thought of good, upon which the Holy Spirit could work, then they are wholly Satan’s, actuated solely by his wicked spirit.SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.15

    Then when men shall have fully identified themselves with Satan, the Lord will have a controversy with them also. Says the prophet, speaking of that time:-SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.16

    “A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations: he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth.” Jeremiah 25:31-33.SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.17

    “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi 4:1.SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.18

    Thus will the great controversy end. In that day those who have allied themselves fully with Satan, will find out what a hopeless thing it is to fight against God. They will realize that while God is love, his is not the love that is imbecile, but the love that protects. In love to his loyal subjects, who have placed confidence in the integrity of his government, he must blot out the incorrigibly rebellious ones.SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.19

    Says God: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing.” “A blessing, if ye obey the commandment of the Lord your God.... and a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God.” “Therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19; 11:27, 28. Who will make the wise choice, and, through Christ, become reconciled to God and his law? “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” E. J. W.SITI December 1, 1890, page 570.20

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