The Signs of the Times


December 25, 1901

The Love that is of God


In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him?—Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.” ST December 25, 1901, par. 1

Hatred caused the first death in our world. After sin came, God gave to men the promise of the Redeemer, who was to die for the redemption of the race, and thus obtain pardon for them. Man was to show his faith in this promise by offering as a sacrifice a lamb without blemish. Thus he was to show his belief in the great truth that without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin. ST December 25, 1901, par. 2

“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof.” ST December 25, 1901, par. 3

Cain knew that God desired him to bring a lamb without blemish. But he was a tiller of the ground, and he did not wish to add to his offering a lamb of his brother's flock. My offering is abundant, he thought. But it lacked the very thing that would have made it of value. Without the lamb, all that he brought was valueless. ST December 25, 1901, par. 4

When Cain presented his offering, he saw nothing to signify that it was accepted by God. But when Abel presented his offering, fire from heaven consumed the sacrifice. “The Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering; but unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect.” ST December 25, 1901, par. 5

“And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” ST December 25, 1901, par. 6

“And Cain talked with Abel his brother,” arguing about his offering, refusing to see that it was his disobedience that had made it unacceptable to God. He was angry that the offering of Abel, his younger brother, had been accepted, while his had been rejected. He was angry with Abel for maintaining that God is just. “And it came to pass ... that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. ST December 25, 1901, par. 7

“And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not; am I my brother's keeper? And He said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto Me from the ground. And now thou art cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” ST December 25, 1901, par. 8

Human beings belong to one great family,—the family of God. The Creator designed that they should respect and love one another, ever manifesting a pure, unselfish interest in one another's welfare. But Satan's aim has been to lead men to self first; and yielding themselves to his control, they have developed a selfishness that has filled the world with misery and strife, setting human beings at variance with one another. Selfishness is the essence of depravity, and because human beings have yielded to its power, the opposite of allegiance to God is seen in the world today. Nations, families, and individuals are filled with a desire to make self a center. Man longs to rule over his fellow-men. Separating himself in his egotism from God and his fellow-beings, he follows his unrestrained inclinations. He acts as if the good of others depended on their subjection to his supremacy. ST December 25, 1901, par. 9

Selfishness has brought discord into the church, filling it with unholy ambition. If Christians are sanctified through a belief in God's Word, why do they so often speak words that would bruise the hearts of others? Why do they acknowledge no law but the law of selfishness? Under the baleful influence of selfishness, men have lost the sense of what it means to love one another with a Christlike love. ST December 25, 1901, par. 10

Love for Christ unites man to his fellow-man in unselfish interest. This is the science of benevolence. He whose heart is filled with the love that centers in God, realizes that he must deal justly and tenderly with his fellow-beings because they have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. Supreme love for God leads us to seek the highest good of humanity. ST December 25, 1901, par. 11

Selfishness destroys Christlikeness, filling man with self-love. It leads to continual departure from righteousness. Christ says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” But self-love is blind to the perfection that God requires. ST December 25, 1901, par. 12

How great the love of God is! God made the world to enlarge heaven. He desired a larger family. And before man was created, God and Christ entered into a covenant that if he fell from his allegiance, Christ would bear the penalty of transgression. Man fell, but he was not left to the power of the destroyer. “God so loved the world that He gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” To the Redeemer was given all power to impart to fallen human beings for their benefit and blessing. ST December 25, 1901, par. 13

While on this earth the Saviour was sorely tried. He was tempted in all points like as we are. He poured out His soul with strong crying and tears as He looked upon the backslidden condition of the people He had brought out of bondage. He saw them full of pride and self-exaltation, full of selfishness and covetousness. All this He must labor to overcome. He must live among them the life that God requires all His children to live. He must stand free from the slightest taint of impurity. Not in the least particular must He deviate from the principles of righteousness. ST December 25, 1901, par. 14

The gulf made by sin has been bridged. All may come boldly to the throne of grace, seeking help in every time of need. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He took the place of the sinner, that He might present the repentant sinner to the Father, saying, “Lay his guilt on Me. I have espoused his cause.” Holding out His hands, bearing the marks of the crucifixion, the Saviour says, “I have graven that sinner on the palms of My hands. No longer look upon him as guilty. Let him stand before Thee guiltless; for I have borne his iniquity.” At the cross, justice and mercy met together, and righteousness and peace kissed each other. God bowed His head in recognition of the completeness of the offering made for sin, and said, “It is enough.” ST December 25, 1901, par. 15

As we contemplate the great love of God, shall not our hearts be subdued and softened, yea, broken? Shall we not be filled with patience, long-suffering, and love? Shall we not die to self? ST December 25, 1901, par. 16

Christ came to this world to reveal the love of God. His followers are to continue the work which He began. Let us strive to help and strengthen one another. Seeking the good of others is the way in which true happiness can be found. Man does not work against his own interest by loving God and his fellow-men. The more unselfish his spirit, the happier he is, because he is fulfilling God's purpose for him. The breath of God is breathed through him, filling him with gladness. To him life is a sacred trust, precious in his sight because given by God to be spent in ministering to others. ST December 25, 1901, par. 17

“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.... If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.” ST December 25, 1901, par. 18

Mrs. E. G. White