||Chosen no: R-5643 a, from: 1915 Year.
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SACRIFICIAL LOVE VS. DUTY LOVE
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind...Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." - (Matthew 22:37-39.)
"This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:12,13.
THE qualities of Wisdom, Justice, Love and
Power are fully harmonized and unified in
the character of our Heavenly Father, our
Creator. In Him these qualities are supplemental
to each other, and in the fullest harmony.
And we are to strive to incorporate
into our own characters these same qualities.
When we use these terms in reference
to mankind, we are bound to recognize in
how comparatively small a degree these
character-qualities are possessed by humanity.
We use the terms justice and love as representing
characteristics which are more or less imperfect in all
mankind. We speak of charity, or generosity. This quality,
a certain manifestation of love, goes beyond mere
justice. Here is a person to whom we owe a dollar. It
is not charity for us to pay him that dollar. It is duty,
justice. A certain course would be right, and nothing less
than that would be right. Certain things are obligatory.
Beyond obligation would be mercy, compassion, love.
What is our duty toward our neighbor? Suppose that
the neighbor has fallen into debt or that his life has been
forfeited. What ought we to do for him? Shall we give
our lives for his life? Shall we assume his obligation?
To do so would be a very loving deed. It might also be
just, but it would go beyond the line of mere justice; for
justice would require merely that we do for our neighbor
just as we would have him do for us, if our positions were
reversed. The Golden Rule would measure what we
should do for our neighbor. If after we have done this,
we wished to do a little more, this would go beyond the
demands of justice; it would be love, favor.
But we should notice that the Law of God demands
not only justice, but also love--love supreme to God, and
love to our fellowmen. It demands mercy, kindness. Let
us note the injunctions along this line which God gave
to natural Israel under the Law. Let us see how far-reaching
they were. "If thou meet thine enemy's ox or
his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him
again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying
under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou
shalt surely help with him." "If thine enemy be hungry,
give him bread to eat; if he be thirsty, give him water to
drink; for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and
the Lord shall reward thee." (Exodus 23:4,5; Proverbs 25:21,22.)
If love so broad and so comprehensive as this
is demanded by God's Law, and was obligatory upon Natural
Israel, to what degree should Spiritual Israel possess
and manifest this noble quality!
JUSTICE PRONOUNCED MAN'S SENTENCE
The penalty that God placed upon our sinner race involved
humanity in crying, sighing and death. It was not
a special exercise of Love that pronounced the death
penalty. It was a special exercise of Justice. However,
there was no violation of the principle of Love in this
death sentence; it was in full harmony with Love. In due
[R5644 : page 72] time God manifested His Love for man, even in his fallen
condition, by the gift of His choicest treasure--His Only
Begotten Son. He was not deficient in Love during all
those four thousand years before He sent His Son to
earth. His Love remained as far as compatible with the
perfection of His character. It was no longer a love of
fellowship, as with a perfect being; but it was a love of
pity, of compassion.
Love was not obligated to make provision for the redemption
of fallen man. The act was one purely of grace;
and if redemption was of grace, it was not of Justice. In
sending His Son, then, to be man's Redeemer, God took
a step beyond anything that Justice could require. Herein
was manifested the Love of God, the compassion of God,
superabounding over what was His duty. No duty-claim
could be pressed by man; for he had forfeited all his
rights, and had become a convict before God's righteous
Law. But God's great mercy in providing a deliverance
for this convict race illustrated His glorious and beneficent
character. In this was manifested the Love of God for
us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us;
and this was Jehovah's own Plan. So Love can go beyond
Justice, and even beyond the measure of love demanded of
a perfect character.
The Love of God and of Christ, as manifested in the
great Plan of Redemption, was a sacrificial Love. So
those who are invited to become members of Christ's Body
are to have this same love. It is not merely the love demanded
by God's perfect Law, which is incumbent upon
all His intelligent creatures on whatever plane; but it is
more. It is a love which will gladly lay down the life
purchased for them by the death of Jesus. This life is
laid down as a sacrifice with their Lord and Head. We
lay down our lives in service for the brethren, and this
sacrifice is acceptable because the merit of Christ is imputed
to us, making us reckonedly perfect before God.
As the Apostle says, "We ought to lay down our lives for
the brethren." The brethren could not demand this of us,
nor we of them; but we should all do so gladly, as we have
opportunity.--1 John 3:16.
LET US HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST
As Christ redeemed us by laying down His life as a
willing sacrifice, so let us have this same mind, this same
disposition, this same will. This is the special Covenant
of the Church--the Covenant of Sacrifice. (Psalm 50:5.)
This is the Covenant which our Lord made with the
Father, and we are to follow in His footsteps. The world
will gain everlasting life if they come up to the standard
of justice required by God's Law. But as for us, we must
have a still higher standard.
So when the Apostle declares that "Love is the fulfilling
of the Law," he is not limiting those who are so governed
by love as to do the Father's will even unto death,
to the mere keeping of the Law given to Israel. To be of
this elect class, a member of the Royal Priesthood who
covenant to lay down their lives as a sacrifice, requires
more than merely fulfilling the demands of the Law. It
requires love to a self-sacrificing degree. And so by gladly
carrying out our Father's will for us, we shall prove ourselves
worthy of glory, honor and immortality, the Divine
nature--which has been promised to the overcoming class
--the "more than conquerors."
"Love is the filling from one's own another's cup,
Love is a daily laying down and taking up;
A choosing of the stony path through each new day,
That other feet may tread with ease a smoother way.
"Love is not blind, but looks abroad through other eyes;
And asks not, 'Must I give?' but, 'May I sacrifice?'
Love hides its grief, that other hearts and lips may sing,
And burdened walks, that other lives may buoyant wing.
"Brother, hast thou a love like this within thy soul?
'Twill change thy name to saint when thou hast reached this