Is it so, that a God in Christ is a God of love? Oh, then, sirs, reciprocate your love on a God of love, and render him love for love: “This is the first and great commandment” of the moral law, and the sum of the first table of the law, Matth. 22:37, 38: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” Here is the most reasonable and just command that ever was. What can be more reasonable than to love him, who is not only lovely, but love itself, and whose love runs out towards us in such a surprising and astonishing way?
Sure I am, it is your “reasonable service,” to love him with all thy heart, soul, strength, and mind. And, sirs, this is a command which, to obey, I am sure will not be painful; for, when God commands you to love him, he commands you to make yourselves happy; for the very happiness of the rational soul lies in the outgoings of God’s love to you, and the outgoings of your love and affections towards him. Oh, sirs! Love to a God of love “is the fulfilment of the law;” you perform all duties, and exercise all graces at once, when you get your hearts drawn out in love to a God in Christ.
- What is faith, but love trusting and confiding in the beloved object?
- What is hope, but love expecting and longing after the enjoyment of him?
- What is patience, but love bearing and suffering what a God of love lays on?
- What is humility, but love lying at the feet of a God of love?
- What is heavenly-mindedness, but love soaring, as upon eagles’ wings, after a God of love?
- What is zeal, but love inflamed with desire to serve a God of love?
- What are all good works, but love displaying itself in actions of obedience to the commands of a God of love.
- What is it to communicate? It is just to show forth the dying love of a God of love.
- What is it to pray, but to offer up our desires to a God of love?
- What is it to praise, but to give vent to the heart in the commendation of a God of love?
So that, I say, when you love a God of love, you, as it were, do all things at once. And then, to engage and encourage your life, in the very command itself he presents himself to thee as thy God, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.”
From Ebenezer Erskine’s sermon God in Christ, a God of love.