The Christian’s Walk
The walk of the believer is a prominent theme throughout the New Testament, this is especially true of the Epistle to the Ephesians where the Spirit by Paul teaches the wonderful standing in Christ of all saints. In the opening doctrinal chapters of the epistle the believer is seen quickened from the dead, raised beyond corruption, and seated in the heavenlies with Christ. In the closing practical chapters he is exhorted, “Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us” (Chap. 5:2). It is obvious, therefore, that the conduct of the Christian should be consistent with the exalted position to which he has been brought by the grace of God. Consequently we are instructed to “Walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8), and to “Walk circumspectly” (Eph. 5:15), as well as to “Walk in love.” One feels the need among us of a revival and a manifestation of this particular grace in our characters.
Most of us err in regard to the object upon which we set our affections. There is danger of self becoming the object of our hearts, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves” (2 Tim. 3:2). Moreover, it is possible to be, “Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:4). The Scriptures have little to say about the believer’s talk, except that it be used sparingly. The child of God is to be slow to speak (Jas. 1:19). Inasmuch as the believer’s walk is an evidence of his character, he should seek grace to heed the exhortation, “Walk in love”. There are three persons which it is our duty to love, God our Father, Christ our Saviour, and the Christian, our brother.
Love To God
A consistent manifestation of love to God is a proof that we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within, for “The fruit of the Spirit is love” (Gal. 5:22}. This objective love is not the product of natural affection, for “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 5:5). The pre-eminent place this virtue has in the fruit of the Spirit suggests that if our love to God is supreme all other graces will be properly proportioned in our lives.
The love of God is perfected in those who obey His commandments (1 John 2:5), and one of His most important commandments is emphasized by the apostle John, “Love one another” (1 John 3:3; 4:12}.
According to verse 10 of Psalm ninety-seven, our love to God results in hating evil; therefore, love has a separating influence on our walk. Love to God will not tolerate sin in man. Spiritual separation is a byproduct of our devotion to the Lord.
True love to God will preserve us from despair when we are confronted by the many common trials of the Christian pilgrimage. “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).
Love To Christ
Expressive love to Christ is an indication of our deep appreciation of His love to us, “We love Him because He first loved us.” The expression of genuine love is seen in obedience, an obedience eager to serve, or to sacrifice for Christ. Paul displays this love when he says, “I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13).
The cross of Christ is the great incentive to love, but besides this the Lord promises a crown of life to them that love Him. May the Lord restore to us our first love, for the pressing need among us today is
Love Of The Brethren
In this is found the unmistakeable proof of discipleship. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). The amount of truth that we know is not of primary importance, but the amount of love we show is. What a convincing witness love is to the world, when it is mutually manifested with fervency! It is recorded that in the early days of the Church’s testimony, the ungodly were heard to exclaim, “Behold, now these Christians love one another!”
“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren” (1 John 3:14).
Our love to fellow believers is to us an inward evidence of divine life, and an outward evidence to the world that we are the Lord’s.
THE POWER OF LOVE: According to 1 Corinthians chapter thirteen, love is the principle element in our service. No gift however great, no benevolence however kind, no sacrifice however startling, can substitute for love. The motive of our service is more important then the magnitude of it. All service marked by love to Christ, and to others, will be blessed now and rewarded in the future.
THE PATTERN OF LOVE: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This perfect sacrifice is the visible token of God’s love for us. The readiness with which we assume responsibility in the care of our brethren, likewise, will prove our love to them. “We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” is strong language, but it is exactly what the Lord did for us. This may not actually involve dying for them, but it does involve living for them in sacrificial service. “My little children let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (l John 3:18). Our love to one another should be characterized by action rather than by sentiment. It consists chiefly in prompt obedience to God, and demands that we put others before ourselves. Selfishness is the badge of carnality, but selflessness in the interest of others is a mark of divine life. “Everyone that loveth is born of God” (1 John 4:7). Our love to one another is the severe test as to whether or not we know God. “He that loveth not, knoweth not God.” (1 John 4:8). The more we know God, the more we love Him and all who belong to Him.
Beloved, let us apply the test of the apostle of love, John. If we hate our brethren we are in darkness, according to verse 9 of chapter 2; whereas, if we love our brethren we dwell in the light. It is intensely solemn that those who love the world, and those who hate their brethren belong to the same class. Notice verse 10 of chapter 3, “Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” If “He that loveth not his brother is not of God” then he must be one of the children of the devil. May the Lord give us grace to dwell in love, and to prove it by helping our needy brother. Let us love in action, not merely in assertion. Let us heed the command of our blessed Lord, “A new commandment, I give unto you, that Ye love one another.” (John 13:34).
“We will love with tender care,
Knowing love to Christ,
Brethren who His image bear,
For the ‘Love of Christ’.
Jesus only shall we know,
And our love to all shall flow,
In His blood - bought Church below,
For the ‘Love of Christ’.”
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Christ is the Giver of all liberty. He is only free who wears the yoke of Christ.
“He opens wide the prison doors,
And breaks the chains that bind us
And bids us onward press and leave
The world and sin behind us.”