Our God is a covenant God, dwelling in eternal fellowship within Himself and with His people in Christ. There is never a “quiet” moment within God. The Holy Spirit tirelessly searches the deep things of God. The Father and Son never stop speaking one to the other. The result is blessed fellowship and eternal joy within God. This is the love within God.
What are contained within the deep things of God? What is that which brings delight to God and great wonder among all the angels? It is the eternal counsel of God to bring you and I into that very covenant fellowship! At this very moment God is continually unfolding the wonders of His counsel to His people as He upholds every atom of His creation. Every moment in time is filled with gathering men, women, and children into covenant friendship with Himself. In sovereign power and irresistible grace, God draws sinners out of the power of darkness and into His marvelous light. He ever says to them in the way of Christ who shed His blood for us, “I love you.”
In Christ also He ever demands of us that we respond in faith “and I love Thee, Lord.” Does God hear this from you? Does God know your love for Him, or do you listen halfheartedly to God while you sit grudgingly in the young peoples’ society meeting? Do you respond with joy to God, or does God through your parents have to nag and drag you from the telephone, television, games, or work, and force you to spend some time preparing? God has shown His love to us in concrete, undeniable action. Is it clear that we love God? Does God need to ask of you “Lovest thou me?” The question “do you love me?” is not heard in a good covenant relationship of love and friendship. The love is obvious in words and actions and need not be questioned. Peter’s denial of Jesus was an action that seriously called into question his love for Jesus. It was not that Jesus was unsure, for He being God knows His sheep, but a rekindling of active love was necessary for Peter and for the sake of his covenant relationship with God. He needed to confess his love three times and also obey the command of God to feed His lambs. Does God have reason to ask of you “lovest thou me?” If so, some serious spiritual problems need to be addressed. Your love for God must be made manifest.
When we live in covenant friendship with God we want to know what pleases Him and we want to do those things. We also trust that He who made us and loves us will teach us what is the way of perfect joy and peace with God. We show our love for God therefore, by keeping his commandments. In Exodus 20:6 God says that He shows mercy unto them that love Him and keep His commandments. Love and keeping commandments are not two different things, but are closely related as we see in John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Obedience to God often requires that we do not do what “every one else” does. We have to be different from those who do not love God, and not just a little different, we must do the opposite; that is, we must live the antitheses. God says in Psalm 97:10 ‘Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” There is no love for God when we flirt with evil, when we see how close we can get without getting burned. When we obey the Word of God we say to Him “I love Thee Lord.”
Obedience to God’s Word implies that we know God’s Word and desire to know it as best we can so that we do not live ignorantly in disobedience. If we do not know what God commands, then we being sinners will not naturally do what God commands, and we will sin. If we do not care to know God, neither do we care to obey Him. A careless attitude is evidence of hatred toward God. The Psalmist writes “… I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches” (Psalm 63:6), and again “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.” (Psalm 91:14) We seek to know and obey God because He has drawn us into His covenant love and being made His children, we love Him. The greatest fear of one who is drawn into the covenant fellowship of God is that he will offend God and do things that He abhors. When we seek to know God we are saying to Him “I love Thee, Lord.”
Knowledge is essential for obedience, and to that end God gives to us sound minds to apprehend the knowledge we need. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” II Tim. 1:7. Soundness of mind is a mind that does not shiver and quake with every turn of events. It is a spiritual gift given with regeneration, and therefore not dependent upon age, education, or intellectual ability. It is the child-like faith we desire. In the matter of the soundness of our minds also, we can demonstrate our love for God. We read in Deut. 13:3 “Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” And again in the New Testament we read “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37) This spiritual mind desires to be and must be fed continuously with the knowledge of God’s Word, and therefore we must study God’s Word. When we search the Scriptures and seek to know God’s Word, we are saying “I Love Thee, Lord God.
It is not enough, however, just to study the Bible by ourselves, flee from evil, and live in isolation from the church. It is not enough to meditate upon God’s Word alone in our bedroom. Love for God is not an individualistic activity. If we study God’s Word and grow in our knowledge of Him with delight while looking down our noses at the brother or sister who flounders in sin and miserable ignorance, then all the knowledge is vain, and there is no love for God in us. “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1 John 3:17) How can we best show our love for the brother? “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. Give of yourself to the brother in the Lord. Give of the spiritual life within you. There is no more practical and concrete way to show love for one another than to fellowship together around God’s Word to employ the combined efforts of our minds as the children of God for the building up of one another in the knowledge of God’s Word. For in the knowledge of God’s Word is peace and soundness of mind. In the knowledge of God is eternal life. Hence, there is no more practical and concrete way to demonstrate actively our love for God than attendance and participation in society.
Go to society! If you think you know it all and don’t need to go, you sin by hating the brother. If you don’t go because you are ashamed of your ignorance, you sin in pride for your self-image. Go to society; prepare; and be diligent to participate; seek fellowship around the Word for the glory of God; then there will be no need for God to ask of you, “Lovest thou Me?” ❖