Love for the Brethren

John OwenHave you considered this? There is no real proof of salvation or evidence of our love for God unless we love the brethren. No matter how kind we are, if we don’t love our fellow Christians our words and deeds are empty. John Owen writes:

‘And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.’ (Colossians 3:14, KJV)

The word ‘agape,’ which is translated in the King James Version as ‘charity’ is the only word used in the New Testament to signify ‘love.’ And I wish that this word had always been rendered as such because in common speech, ‘charity’ – relieving the poor and afflicted – is merely one fruit of love. This is not the main sense of the word in Scripture. So our text could be better rendered, ‘Above all these things put on love.’ Every virtue and duty commanded in the Scriptures is usually placed on equal level with other virtues and duties, but there is one that has precedence over all other commands, as is here stated in our text, ‘Above all these things put on love.’ Other Scriptures state the same truth: ‘Before all things, have fervent love among yourselves’ (1 Peter 4:8). ‘Earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way… the greatest of these is love’ (1 Cor. 12:31, 13:13).

In 1 Corinthians 12-14, the Apostle Paul gives directions for the use of spiritual gifts for the edification of the church (and this is a most excellent thing). But when all is said and done, he emphasizes the ‘more excellent way’ of love, which he describes in detail in chapter 13. Not only is love commanded, but it is shown to have a special preeminence and excellency above all other things.

Therefore, I offer the following observation: Love is the principal grace and duty that is required from, and expected from, the saints of God. This is to be especially evident when they are engaged together in church fellowship. (“Gospel Charity”)

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3 Responses

  1. I John 4: 7-8

  2. Reblogged this on My Delight and My Counsellors.

  3. […] http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/love-for-the-brethren/ […]

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