And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us…
I. I gather out of these words something CALCULATED TO TOUCH THE HEART.
1. There are many of our fellow creatures who have found but little love from man. To them this would have been a cold, cheerless place. To them the love of God, revealed in the gospel, comes as a strange and startling thing. It transforms life when thoroughly realized and embraced.
2. There are others who have known the value of human affection, and have lost it. A dark cloud has settled down upon their once happy homes and hearts. The gospel announces that all they have lost, and far more, they may find again in Christ. When anyone shall not only hear it, but grasp it — not only understand it, but try it — then life will wear a new aspect, and under the influence of Christ the whole soul expands.
II. I find here something to SATISFY THE CONSCIENCE. What should we do in the presence of our sins, if we had no such truth as this to trust to?
III. I find here something to REGULATE LIFE.
1. Walk in love as in an atmosphere of bright sunshine, bathing your soul in a consciousness of God's love for you. It is your privilege, let it be your joy.
2. Walk in love as an apparel. It is a beautiful sight to see a man clothed with humility. It is a cheering sight when you look at a servant of Jesus in the armour of light, and a worshipper of God in the garments of salvation. It is a glorious sight when you see a holy man putting on zeal for a cloak. But above all these things put on charity or love, for it is the bond of perfectness. In this world of sorrow the Christian should be conspicuous for love. It was the prominent feature in Christ; it should be prominent in Christ's followers.
3. Walk in love, as the appointed path in which God would have His children found. The walk of love will lead you into ways which you never once thought to find. It often turns aside from the more crowded thoroughfares of life, and runs through scenes where sorrow and shame have crept out of sight to weep and endeavour to forget. But there are some of the keenest experiences of human joy to be found in this lowly path. To stand, e.g., in the presence of despair, and watch how hope begins again to brighten a brother's eye; to whisper some holy truth in the ear of grief, and then receive the rich reward of a smile of thankfulness; to put the cup of cold water to the parched lip, and then listen to the gurgle of a new joy as some poor sufferer drinks down what refreshes soul and body both — oh, this comes only in the lanes and the by walks of the path of love. Sometimes the path descends into the darker regions of trial and temptation, when the believer himself needs sympathy; and I know nothing more sweet, nothing more soothing, than in such an hour of one's own sorrow to experience the sympathy which Christ shows in the tenderness of His insight into all our need, and to feel that the world is better than we thought it to be when some brother man comes in the warmth of his own regenerated heart and testifies that all is not cold, all is not barren. But sometimes the walk of love rises among the upland scenery of grace and godliness, and then, when we climb from height to height of God's great mystery of redemption, as we look down and back upon all the way in which goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our life, as we look around on the vastness and variety and beauty and blessedness for which our Father has given us an eye and a heart, and as we look above into that cloudland overhead and up to those greater worlds of glory which enable us to think what the universe must be and what the great Governor of that universe can do, why then the walk of love rises into a sublimity which a man can feel but cannot describe, and the climax upon earth is reached, and beyond it nothing further can go till this winged soul of ours shall have broken the silver cord that tied it to the body, and found the expansion of her wing feathers causing her to sear away into the presence of God, where are fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore. It is a great bright world that is yet known to few. Some have landed upon its shore — a great continent of joy. They know but the fringe of flower and fruit which the search of a few short days has found. But go through the length and breadth of the land, wander among its hills and valleys, drink of the deep fountains of love, swim over its inner seas, and you will never again return to the haunts of sin and the ways of shame, for the love of the higher and the purer and the more perfect will swallow up every meaner passion, and absorb every fainter light, and the passion, the privilege, the prerogative, the pleasure of the sinner saved by grace, is to walk in love.
Parallel VersesKJV: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.