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    January 28, 1897

    “The Nature of God’s Commandment” The Signs of the Times, 23, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, can not love God whom he hath not seen. And this commandment have we from him. That he who loveth God love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20, 21, R.V. A little consideration of the commandments God. Let us first ask a few questions about it.SITI January 28, 1897, page 50.1

    Does the text teach that whoever loves God is thereby laid under obligations to love his brother also? that if a man loves God and does not love his brother also, he will be punished for violation of law? Manifestly not, from the very statement of the text, that a man can not love God without loving his brother. “He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen.” Since a man can not love God if he does not also have love for his brother, or neighbor, it is evident that the text does not mean that there is a special law enacted for those who love God, requiring them to love their brethren.SITI January 28, 1897, page 50.2

    Love comes from God. “Every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” Therefore whoever loves God must of necessity love his brother also. He must love all men, for God’s love is without respect of persons. And this shows that men can not, as is now quite commonly thought, learn to love God by first loving their fellow-men. Love to God is first. Jesus said: “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord; 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; this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Mark 12:29-31.SITI January 28, 1897, page 50.3

    No man can love his neighbor unless he loves God, because love is of God; and nobody can love God without loving his brother. Love is one. It can not be forced, for the use of force is sure death to love. It must flow spontaneously. Yet we have the statement, “This commandment have we from him. That he who loveth God love his brother also.” The thing therefore that we are to learn from this is that the commandment of God is something far different from the commandments of men. Human laws are wholly a matter of force; but God’s commandment is that we should love one another, and that can not be a matter of force.SITI January 28, 1897, page 50.4

    The law of God is love. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Galatians 5:14. “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:8, 10. When God spoke his law, it was because “he loved the people.” Deuteronomy 33:2, 3.SITI January 28, 1897, page 50.5

    It is clear from these scriptures that the law of God is love, even the love of God. But God himself is love. He does not merely have love, but love is the very life of God. Therefore the law of God is his life. And this brings us to the words of Jesus: “For I spake not from myself; but the Father which sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life eternal.” John 12:49, 50, R.V. The commandment of God is life eternal, and to know God is life eternal (John 17:3), showing that the commandment of God is his own life. We know one only as we know his life. So we know God only by knowing his life, and his life is eternal life; but his commandment is life eternal, because his commandment is his life. In other words, the life of God is the law for man.SITI January 28, 1897, page 50.6

    “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” John 1:18. God set forth his Son, in whom was his own life, in order that we might know what the law is. In Christ we have the real, living law.SITI January 28, 1897, page 50.7

    We read that out of the heart are the issues of life. Now Christ said of himself, “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:7, 8. Therefore the life which issued from Christ was the law of God; and as he lived by the Father (John 6:57), we see again that the law of God is his life.SITI January 28, 1897, page 50.8

    In Christ “all fullness” dwells, even “all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” The apostle Paul wrote thus of his prayer: “I bow knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19.SITI January 28, 1897, page 50.9

    This is an inspired prayer, and therefore we know that it is the will of God that its requests should be granted. If we but allow Christ to dwell in our hearts, he will bring in all his own fullness which is all the fullness of God. Then from our hearts will issue the same life that issued from the heart of Christ on earth, even the life of God. And so we shall find that this commandment is not grievous, because it is not an arbitrary requirement laid on us, but our very life. It is not something which we are to do by our own strength, but which, if we allow it, will work itself out in us.SITI January 28, 1897, page 50.10

    How will this life be manifested in us? Just as it was in Christ when he was on earth; for he is the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever. When tempted to idolatry, he replied, “It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10. Therefore the one in whom is the life of Christ, can not be an idolater.SITI January 28, 1897, page 50.11

    When the parents of Jesus found him in the temple, asking and answering the questions of the doctors, he was not impatient of control, although he was so wonderfully wise, far exceeding them in respect; but “he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.” Luke 2:51. Therefore the one in whom is the real law of God, in the form of the life of Christ, will honor his father and his mother, as required by the fifth commandment; and he will not find it burdensome to do so.SITI January 28, 1897, page 50.12

    Jesus said, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” John 18:37. He “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” 1 Peter 2:22. Therefore those in whom he dwells will not only tell the truth, but they will love the truth. They will love the truth so much that they will never seek to parry its force, nor to evade any portion of the truth of God’s word.SITI January 28, 1897, page 51.1

    The tenth commandment says, “Thou shalt not covet.” So far was Christ from coveting, that he freely gave up everything that was his own. And so those in whom he dwells will not find it a grievous matter to be content with such things as they have.SITI January 28, 1897, page 51.2

    Christ kept the Sabbath, even the seventh day of the week, and no other. His life was God’s life, and the life of God is the law for men; therefore those who live solely by him will also keep the Sabbath day. They will not consider this a burdensome thing, but will delight in it, even as Christ delighted to do the will of God. Those who delight in the Sabbath, also delight themselves in the Lord (Isaiah 38:13, 14), thus showing again that the law of God, including the fourth commandment, is the life of God. To delight in the law is to delight in the life of the Lord.SITI January 28, 1897, page 51.3

    Let us therefore say to Christ as he stands at the door and knocks, “Come in, thou that comest in the name of the Lord.” Let him come in with all the divine fullness, to live in us his own blessed will. It will be different from anything that we have ever before done, “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8, 9. The desire of man is to rise, and here is elevation indeed. The life of God will lift the one who accepts it from earth to heaven. E. J. W.SITI January 28, 1897, page 51.4

    “Argument” The Signs of the Times, 23, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    If the Gospel could be propagated by argument, it would be vastly more popular than it now is. If men could be saved by argument and controversy, there would be thousands saved today where there are only tens. But the fact is that it is not argument that is needed, but “holding forth the word of life.” A man always weakens his cause when he consents to debate and strive and argue about it. Strife and debate are so firmly imbedded in human nature that it takes us a long time to learn this. But if we were to stop and think we should see that it is true.SITI January 28, 1897, page 51.5

    Men do not argue about that of which they are perfectly sure. You would not argue with a man to prove to him that the sun is shining at noon. You point out the fact to him, and if he wishes to see it for himself, he can, and if he does not, you can not help him by argument. You would not debate with a man to convince him that the twenty-six letters of the alphabet are what they are. If he does not know them, you may teach him, but not by a debate. If he does not wish to have you teach him, but wishes to argue the point, you would simply leave him to himself.SITI January 28, 1897, page 51.6

    And you would not be at all moved by his boast that you dared not debate with him, and that your refusal showed that you did not dare put your belief to the test of argument. You do not simply believe, but you know, and it is much better to put knowledge to the test of actual use than to the test of argument. To argue the case would indicate a doubt about it in your own mind.SITI January 28, 1897, page 51.7

    Now what the Gospel wants is not men who are ready to debate, but who know Christ, and who know his word. Such men will teach by their quiet lives, and if any want to learn further, they will be ready to point them to the Word, but they will not lower the standard by arguing with those who do not want to learn.SITI January 28, 1897, page 51.8

    The man who wants to learn never wants to argue. The man who is anxious to argue a debate, does not want to learn anything from the one with whom he argues, but he wants, by arguing, to fortify himself in the opinions that he already holds. By repeating his arguments he helps to convince himself that they are true; and if he can outtalk his opponent, that proves to him that he is right. Therefore the time spent on him while he is in that condition is wasted. The Christian can afford to let him talk and even rail, knowing that the truth can not be injured. This very confidence begets in the other a desire to know what it is that is so sure that you are not in the least afraid that it will be overthrown by argument. Then is your time to instruct him.SITI January 28, 1897, page 51.9

    So, then, argumentative ability is not necessarily a part of the outfit of the servant of Christ. For “the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach [not to argue], patient; in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to acknowledging of the truth.” 2 Timothy 2:24, 25. E. J. W.SITI January 28, 1897, page 51.10

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