Many a Christian wearies himself in the attempt to love always, for so often he fails. And the reason for this failure is simply that we have no power in ourselves to love even God (much less our brethren or our enemies) “because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).
But when a Christian comes to understand that the love wherewith God and Christ love him should be in him too—and not merely as a pleasant experience but as a divine life-power, abiding in him—he can have assurance that the Spirit of God longs to effect this love in him. And as he believes this, and surrenders himself fully to the Holy Spirit, he will find that he can and will love all men.
“And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love.” 1 Timothy 1:14
“Your work of faith [and] labor of love.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3
“The breastplate of faith and love.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8
“Your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3
These expressions by the apostle Paul show us the true connection between faith and love in the life of a Christian. Faith always comes first; it roots itself deeply in the love of God, and bears fruit in love to the brethren. As in nature the root and the fruit are inseparable, so is it with faith and love in the realm of grace.
Therefore, let this thought sink deep into our hearts: “The grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love” (1 Tim 1:14). As we cultivate faith in God’s love, our hearts will be filled with love to the brethren. The genuineness of our faith regarding the love of God toward us must be shown by love in our daily lives at home.
But even more amazing, the everlasting love with which the Father loved the Son is the same love with which the Son has loved us. And this exact same love Christ has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit so that our whole life may be permeated with its vital power. In God, love reaches its highest point and is the culmination of His glory. In the man Christ Jesus on the cross, love is at its highest. We owe everything to this love.
Every Christian should show forth, therefore, as in a mirror, this love of God. When our eyes have been opened and we realize that the love of God has already been poured out in our hearts by His Spirit, enabling us to keep His commandments and to love the brethren—then let us bow in stillness of soul before God and adore the love which has taken possession of our hearts, until our faith can firmly say: God has indeed given me the spirit of love in my heart. In the power of the Spirit I can and will love God and my fellow men. So let each of us examine his life and pray for grace, as a servant of that all-powerful love, to live for those around him.