Jude 2 - "Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied."
Continuing from Part 1, Puritan Thomas Manton, from his Jude commentary, in helping us examine if we truly love God, notes the evidences when this is true of someone (which implies they must exist), and then offers some helps to increase it.
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From Thomas Manton:
- This love must be demonstrated by solid effects, such as are:
[1.] A hatred of sin: Ps. xcvii. 10, ‘Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.’ With love to the chiefest good, there will be a hatred of the chiefest evil. Friends have common loves, as I said, and common aversations [things we should be averse to]. Upon every carnal motion does your heart recoil upon you, and say, ‘How can I do this wickedness, and sin against God?’ Gen. xxxix. 9; or else, ‘Is this thy kindness to thy friend?’ or ‘after such a deliverance as this,’ &c., Ezra ix. 13. Love to God will be interposing and crossing every carnal motion.
[2.] By a delight in obedience: 1 John v. 3, ‘This is love, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous.’ Nothing is difficult and tedious to him that has any affection to his work. As the prophet cured the bitterness of the wild gourds by casting in meal, so mingle but a little love with your work, and the bitterness is gone. Shechem yielded to be circumcised for Dinah’s sake, because he loved her; and Jacob endured his seven years’ service for Rachel’s sake: so will love make us obey God cheerfully in things contrary to our natural inclination. Love and labour are often coupled in scripture, 1 Thes. i. 3; Heb. vi. 10; and those that left their first works had lost their first love, Rev. ii. 4, 5.
[3.] Delight in God’s presence, and grief for his absence; or a holy sensibleness both of his accesses and recesses, to and from the soul. Can a man love God, and be content without him? If you lose but a ring which you affect, how are you troubled till it be found again! ‘Ye have taken away my gods (saith he), and do you ask, What aileth thee?’ Judges xviii. 24. So when God is withdrawn, all visits of love and influences of grace are suspended, and they have no communion with him in their duties, should they not mourn? See Mat. ix. 15. Is spiritual love without all kind of passion? or are they Christians that are stupid [like being in a stupor] and insensate [lacking sensibility], and never take notice of God’s coming and going?
These are the evidences. I shall only now suggest two helps to keep up
and increase this love to God, and I have done with this argument.
- Prize nothing that comes from God unless you can see his love in it. God gives many gifts to wicked men, but he doth not give them his love. The possession of all things will do us no good unless we have God himself; other mercies may be salted with a curse. God’s children are not satisfied till they can see him and enjoy him in every comfort and mercy. Esau was reconciled to Jacob, and therefore Jacob saith, Gen. xxxiii. 10, ‘I have seen thy face as the face of God.’ It was a token and pledge of the gracious face of God smiling on him. Hezekiah was delivered out of a sickness, and then he doth not say, Thou hast delivered me from the grave; but, ‘Thou hast loved me from the grave,’ Isa. xxxviii. 17.
- Prize nothing that you return to God unless there be love in it. We accept a small gift where the party loves, and otherwise the greatest is refused: ‘If I give my body to be burned, and have not love,’ etc., 1 Cor. xiii. 3. Love is an act of grace by itself; other duties are not acts of grace unless they come from love; as alms, fasting, prayer, martyrdom, etc., they are all nothing; οὔδεν εἶμι (says the apostle), ‘I am’ not only little, but ‘nothing.’ On the other side, small things are made great by love; as a cup of cold water, a poor woman’s mite, they are accepted as coming from love.
May we seek from God, and may He grant us, that we hate sin, delight in obedience to Him, delight in His presence, prize nothing but what comes from Him, and may all these be out of love for Him above all things!