The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within; when the sunshine of heaven fills the heart, and is expressed in the countenance. There is no such thing as a loveless Christian. It is not possible for the heart in which Christ abides to be destitute of love. The heart that is cold and stern is not catching the bright, softening beams of the Sun of Righteousness.
Hear the testimony of the apostle John: “These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, That God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.
“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. … We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in Him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
Take the question to your own hearts, and answer it as if before the Judge of all the earth. A reformation must take place in every family, in every institution, in every church. “Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” “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. … Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. … 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.” “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us.”
These sacred lessons, if received into the heart, will bring about the reformation essential. Many will lose heaven unless they change their selfish, unlovable, unsympathetic ways, and learn that the Spirit of Christ is not selfish and forbidding, uncourteous and loveless. Unless those who stand in responsible positions in our institutions make decided changes in heart and character, they will be condemned as lukewarm, knowing not that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Unless we practice Christ’s ways, and receive His Spirit, we are none of His. He desires us to reveal His love in word and action. All that we do should flow from a deep, abiding principle of love,—a principle that is after the similitude of Christ, who is love and light and peace. But how little, how very little, of Christ’s character is revealed! The spirit of self-denial is becoming a rare thing.
Yet there is love in our churches. There are those who love God supremely and their neighbors as themselves. Their prayers and their alms come up before God as a memorial. The Lord does not lose sight of them. He is watching those who are walking in the light as fast as they receive it. They are the objects of His special care.
The law of Christ’s kingdom is in every respect to be carried out in this world. The inspired apostle declares, “Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.”
God desires to bind His family of workers together by common sympathy, pure affection. It is the atmosphere of Christlike love surrounding the soul of the believer that makes him a savor of life unto life, and enables God to bless his work. False philosophy alone is proud, exclusive, favoring only a few. In those who have this spirit the lowly awaken little sympathy. They possess no power nor disposition to uplift the degraded. But Christ binds men to Himself, to God, and to one another. True, sanctified philosophy makes all human elements one in Christ. It builds no walls of separation between man and his fellow men. Pure and undefiled religion makes the children of God one family, united with Christ in God. Connected as branches of the parent vine, they bear fruit to God’s glory.
The Review and Herald, March 27, 1900