The Signs of the Times


November 19, 1896

The Love of God


“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” ST November 19, 1896, par. 1

The love of God is a golden chain which binds finite man to the infinite God. It is a love which “passeth knowledge.” No science can explain it, no wisdom fathom it. The more we feel the influence of this love, the greater will be our amazement at it. Job exclaims: “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?” “The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.” “O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and love of God!” exclaims Paul, “how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out.” “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.” ST November 19, 1896, par. 2

God's creatures are never absent from his mind. Even the birds which fly in the heavens, and the flowers of the field, are objects of his tender care. “Behold the fowls of the air,” said Christ, “they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.” “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” If the great Master Artist has bestowed such care upon these things, how much greater will be his regard for man, who is the “image and glory of God!” His care and love for his children are unceasing, and he longs to see them reveal a character after his similitude. “I will make a man more precious than fine gold,” he declares, “even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” ST November 19, 1896, par. 3

And tho sin has existed for ages, seeking to counteract the tide of love flowing from God to the human race, tho man has lost the image of God through yielding to this sin, yet the love and care which God bestows upon the beings he has created, has not ceased to increase in richness and abundance. He “so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” He who was in the form of God, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, descended from his throne, clothing his divinity with humanity that he might reach humanity. He was in the beginning with God; yet he came to announce to the human race, fallen and degraded, that he had brought them the gift of everlasting life. ST November 19, 1896, par. 4

God's gift to this earth was beyond all computation; nothing was withheld. The love demonstrated in the life of Christ, from the manger to the cross, the mystery of his divinity veiled in humanity, the bright beams of righteousness manifested to the world in his words and works,—these are themes which the angels desire to look into. How would men receive this gift? Could they fail to appreciate the sacrifice? Could the world resist this boundless love? At the time of Christ's advent the hearts of men were corrupted by sin. Hatred against God was cherished by the entire race. A wakeful impiety was exercised by the enemies of God; the principles of injustice were wide-spread; and a master-power was at work, seeking to eclipse the love of God, and gain control of the minds of men. And so Christ, the Bread of life, came to his own, “and his own received him not.” The light of God shone on the darkness of this world, but the darkness comprehended it not. The inestimable gift of heaven was not appreciated; the healing flood of life and heavenly grace was disregarded. ST November 19, 1896, par. 5

God has given men intellect in order that he may lead their minds higher and still higher, opening to them the mysteries of divine love. The contemplation of the theme of redemption enlarges the mind and sanctifies the will. By beholding Christ, the Lamb of God, who “taketh away the sin of the world,” our conception of his love is deepened and broadened. Why, then, are our ideas so narrow? Why do we not comprehend that love which is so deep and broad? ST November 19, 1896, par. 6

As in the days of Christ, the enemy of God works constantly to lead men to place the will in his control, that God may be forgotten. He knows that if this is done, he can control the whole man. He tempts men in many ways to forget their Creator. To some he offers tobacco and alcoholic drinks. Others he tempts by pointing them to their own degradation and helplessness. Those who yield to his temptations can have no conception of the love of God. The will becomes enslaved, bound to pursue a course which the word of God does not justify. Reason is enfeebled; the power to distinguish between right and wrong is lost; sacred and eternal realities are estimated as of less value than gold, silver, houses, lands, and bank stock. The love of God fades from the mind; and the captives in the tempter's power live on, “having no hope, and without God in the world,” because they do not behold the Lamb of God. ST November 19, 1896, par. 7

Sin can triumph only by enslaving the mind. Christ came to our world to break the power of Satan, and emancipate the will of man. He came “to proclaim liberty to the captives,” to “undo the heavy burdens,” and to “let the oppressed go free;” and he calls upon us to cooperate with him by entering his service, wearing his yoke, and lifting his burdens. And, if we consent, he can and will so identify himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity with his will, that when obeying him, we shall but carry out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing his service. ST November 19, 1896, par. 8

Man is not his own; he has been bought with a price, even “the precious blood of Christ.” By pouring the whole treasury of heaven into this world, by giving us in Christ all heaven, God has purchased the will, the affections, the mind, the soul, and the strength of every one. And man is safe only when he places himself under the control of God. When this is done, the will becomes firm and strong to do right; the heart is cleansed from all selfishness, and filled with a Christlike love and tenderness. The mind yields to the authority of the law of love, and “every thought is brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” The powers, hitherto “members of unrighteousness,” and “servants of sin,” are consecrated to the service of a God of love. ST November 19, 1896, par. 9

“Thus saith the Lord God, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out, ... I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and will give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the gentiles, to open the blind eyes, to bring the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” This precious assurance of God to his Son, the Anointed, embraces all who receive Jesus Christ; for the word of God declares, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” ST November 19, 1896, par. 10

Satan is determined to shut out all light and communication from above. As if in defiance to the mercy of Omnipotence, he caused the Son of God to be crucified. But Christ rose from the grave, and today he is our Advocate in the courts of heaven, reconciling us “unto God ... by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” He has a claim to our wills and affections, and in a voice full of love and mercy he calls, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ST November 19, 1896, par. 11

The Lord directs every mind that yields to the power of his love, and reveals to it the mystery of godliness. Yield yourself entirely into his keeping; for his love is everlasting and unchangeable. Consecrate your powers to him. The divine influence of his love will diffuse itself through the chambers of your mind; your soul-temple will be cleansed from all selfishness; your heart, filled with all that is pure and lovely, will reveal the mysteries of redeeming love. Then you shall be indeed God's workmanship, “created in Christ Jesus unto good works,” “sanctified, and meet for the Master's use.” ST November 19, 1896, par. 12