Suggested further reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
We should observe how our Lord speaks of the grace of
brotherly love. He returns to it a second time, though he has already
spoken of it in the former part of his discourse. He would have us
know that we can never think too highly of love, attach too much
weight to it, labour too much to practise it. Truths which our Master
thinks it needful to enforce on us by repetition must needs be of
He commands us to love one another. `This is my
commandment.' It is a positive duty laid on our consciences to practise
this grace. We have no more right to neglect it than any of the ten
precepts given on Mount Sinai.
He supplies the highest standard of love: `Love one another,
as I have loved you.' No lower measure must content us. The
weakest, the lowest, the most ignorant, the most defective disciple is not
to be despised. All are to be loved with an active, self-denying,
self-sacrificing love. He that cannot do this, or will not try to do it,
is disobeying the command of his Master.
A precept like this should stir up in us great searchings of
heart. It condemns the selfish, ill-natured, jealous, ill-tempered spirit
of many professing Christians with a sweeping condemnation.
Sound views of doctrine and knowledge of controversy will avail
us nothing at last, if we have known nothing of love. Without
charity we may pass muster very well as churchmen but without
charity we are no better, says St Paul, than `sounding brass and
tinkling cymbal' (1 Cor. 13:1). Where there is no Christ-like love, there
is no grace, no work of the Spirit and no reality in our religion.
Blessed are they that do not forget Christ's commandment! They are
those who shall have right to the tree of life and enter the celestial
city. The unloving Christian is unmeet for heaven.
For meditation: The Christian has a responsibility of love
towards all men, but especially towards his fellow believers.