"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
A Vital Witness to Love for God
By Fred O. Blakely
It is "to them that love God" that all the spiritually preferential treatment by the Father is promised (Rom. 8:28). In order to be included in that favored class, and so to have God "for us" at all times and in all circumstances (v. 31), we must meet the condition thereof. Hence, it is vitally important that we make sure that we really love the Father, as He defines and considers that term and quality.
According to John, a sure evidence that we do not meet the requirement is a set affinity with "the world" (I Jn. 2:15-17). "If any man love the world," including "the things" therein (which are spelled out in verse 16), "the love of the Father is not in him," it is declared (v. 15; cf. Jas. 4:4). It well behooves us, therefore, to examine ourselves by this rule (II Cor. 13:5), to see whether we actually love the other- and antiworldly God, or are but professing to do so.
The hard fact of the matter is God-the true God-is diametric in nature and purpose to the present evil world. So could John proclaim that love for the world and love for God are impossible, being mutually antagonistic to and exclusive of each other. This is a decisive principle which the modem church, caught up in an obsession to be as much like the world as possible without openly and completely giving up its claim of allegiance to Christ, badly needs to recognize and heed.
The bona fide love of God by an individual or a group will, thus, automatically align him or it against the world and its evil order, determined and administered by the Devil, its prince. The distinct awareness of this arrayment becomes one of the surest confirmations of love toward God. We have this commandment, it will be remembered, "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil" (Ps. 97:10).
So, as we perceive in ourselves the required enmity against the world, the flesh, and the Devil, and the friction and suffering which it involves, that perception, properly interpreted, becomes to us an attestation of our love for the holy Father. It is because of our fundamental affinity with Him that we are set in opposition to "all that is in the world," including our own corrupted Adamic nature.
In light of this situation, a common experience by the saints, which otherwise can be quite frustrating and discouraging, is transformed into a blessed reassurance of our spiritual affiliation with God, and so of His being invincibly "for us." The experience is simply that of the humiliation, suffering, and heartache realized because of our occasional failings short of God's glory.
It is our love for God and deep regard for His holy expectations of us that produce the sorrow for sin in our hearts. We are grieved at not having fully measured up to the will for us of Him whom we love. Those at enmity with God certainly have no such experience of frustration and remorse because of sin. Their only disappointment and regret is because they were caught, or because of not having been able to indulge self more fully.
Let us not, accordingly, be turned aside from our state as the sons and daughters of the Most Holy because we sometimes come short of His perfect glory. Rather, let us take our pain at such delinquency as evidence of our love for Him. And, in the good knowledge that He is understanding, and will forgive and cleanse us "from all unrighteousness" upon our repentance and confession to Him (I Jn. 1:8-9), let us seek the cleansing, and press on in the pursuit of that holiness unto which we are called in Christ (Heb. 12:14).
"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).