the Second Week of Lent
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Mornings and Evenings with Jesus
This is love, that we walk after his commandments. - 2 John 1:6
WHILE God is the Father of his people, he is also their Master. He is good to them, but his goodness does not deprive him of his authority. He maintains this inviolable, even for their own welfare, and he has therefore given us not only exceeding great and precious promises, but commands; and our apostle says, “This is love;”-that is, the effect, the experience, the evidence of love:-“that we walk after his commandments.” This fruit of love, according to our apostle, bears two characteristics.
First, He reminds us that it is practical, consisting in nothing less than walking. In Scripture you will observe that walking never refers to a single action, but to our conduct at large. “And herein,” says the apostle, “is love.” Not that we read, that we hear that we think his commandments, that we profess them, that we recommend them; but herein “is love, that we walk after his commandments.” Let us be assured of this,-that every thing else, however valuable, in connection with this, will be found vain without it. “Love,” says John, “not in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” “If ye know these things,” says our Saviour, “happy are ye if ye do them.” Again, says our Saviour, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Yea, and again, (and nothing can be more awful than this:)-“Many will say to me, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” So that even endowments and exertion will not be substitutes for obedience: if the man who prophesies does not pray-if he who speaks in other tongues does not glorify God in his own-if he who performs miracles is also a worker of iniquity, he shall have his portion with the devil and his angels.
Secondly, The other characteristic is, that it is prescribed as well as practical. Walking shows that religion is not a speculation, a notion, a pretence; for we are not merely to walk, but we are to “walk after his commandments;” not after the course of this world, not according to the lusts of men, not according to the imagination of our hearts, but to “walk after his commandments.” We may do many things which God has never enjoined, and he may pardon these; but he only rewards obedience, and obedience always and invariably regards a rule-a law. And he has told us what he requires of us; he has shown us what is good; we have it in his Word-his will; and therefore to this we are to appeal. Not to the decrees of councils, not to the creeds of men, but to the Scriptures. What saith the Scripture? should be the only inquiry with us. Every thing in religion that is destitute of the sanction of his authority is unbinding on the conscience. It is of the traditions of men, it is of will-worship, concerning which he will by-and-by say, “Who hath required this at your hands?” “As many as walk according unto this rule, peace be on them, and mercy.”
And knew the grace of God in truth. - Colossians 1:6.
THE grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ cannot be known in truth, without producing in us corresponding effects. It will excite our application to him; we shall be found at his feet, praying, “Heal me, for I have sinned against thee.” It will excite our admiration, and with angels we shall desire to look into these things.
How surprising his condescension, how matchless his mercy! It baffles all description, it defies all wonder; it sets even astonishment at a stand. The mind never feels its insignificance so much as when it is contemplating the heights and depths and lengths and breadths of the Saviour’s love, which passeth knowledge. This knowledge will also teach us to love him. It will make us truly grateful, and we shall ask, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits?” It will lead us to devotedness to his service, and we shall pour forth the warmest emotions of our souls, and ask daily, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” It will excite us to imitate him, to be like-minded with him, and to walk even as he walked. And while we reflect on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, how that “though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich,” we shall deem nothing too humiliating, nothing too arduous to engage in for his sake on the behalf of others.
Blessed Jesus, thy heart was made of tenderness! Thou went about doing good. In thee the disconsolate always found a comforter, the ignorant an instructor, and the lost a Saviour. Oh that we may resemble thee! Oh that we may have the same mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus!