Pristine Grace

Genuine Love For God
I John 4:19-20
by Henry Mahan

"We love Him, because He first loved us. If a man says, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar." (I John 4:19-20.)

     Lest love to God and love to one another should be thought to be a product of our own nature, John reminds us that God's love for us preceeded our love for Him. If we love God sincerely it is because He loved us and if we love others it is because of His grace and the love of God which He shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We have what we have, do what we do, and are what we are by the grace of God. Boasting is excluded; spiritual pride has no place in the believer. This is the reason why a man cannot love God and hate his brother, for the same grace that produces love for God begats love for these in whom Christ dwells.

     Nothing can be more contradictory – not black and white or hot and cold – than for a man to say, "I love God and hate my brother." This is a thing impossible. A man cannot love God and hate the image and work of God before his eyes. A genuine love for God will result in a love for all that God is, does, and reveals of Himself. We love His Son, His Word, His law, His church, His providence, and His people. This love is not a tolerance of such, nor a reluctant duty, but a genuine, spontaneous inward feeling of affection, produced by the indwelling Holy Spirit, which grows daily, overcomes selfish feelings and makes allowances for every infirmity and human failure. It is a principle of the heart that desires to bestow the very best upon the object of affection. If Christ can love me as I am, how can I fail to love you as you are?

Is there no spark of gratitude
In this cold heart of mine,
No evidence of redeeming grace
No fruit of Love Divine?