from Love To God by William S. Plumer
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5
That love to God is a pressing duty is manifest from all the Scriptures. By Moses God said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” Deut. 6:5. (Read Deut. 10:12, 11:1, 13, 22, 19:9, 30:6, and 7:9).
The duty [to love] is clearly and repeatedly urged in other parts of the [law]. Thus it appears that in His early revelations, love to God was greatly insisted on as a high duty; that its nature was well explained; that men were taught that it well agreed with the fear of God; that it always produced the fruit of obedience; that great blessings, temporal and spiritual, were connected with it; and that it was one of the promises of the covenant that God would implant this grace in the hearts of his people.
When our Savior came, he dwelt much on the love of God, declared it the greatest and first duty of men, essential to true religion, and incapable of being substituted by outward observances. His apostles taught the same doctrine. It may be well to observe that love to God includes the three Persons of the Trinity. Love to the Father is not different from love to the Son or to the Holy Spirit. In each case it is the same. He who loves him who begat, also loves him who was begotten of him. He who loves the Son loves the Father, for he and the Father are one. One person of the Trinity is no less lovely than another. All the persons of the Godhead are the same in substance and in attributes, though having different offices in man’s salvation. Love to either person is love to God. Love to God is love to all the persons of the Godhead. Let this view be retained in mind. It will prevent many painful and perplexing doubts respecting our duty. He who honors the Son, honors the Father and the Spirit. He who loves the Spirit is sure to love the Father and the Son.
John Angell James says, “Let the love we bear to God pervade and influence every thought and word and action. We shall then abhor that which he abhors, and depart from evil. We shall subdue our own will, and find our best happiness in doing his.”
The importance of this love to God is seen at every step in the Christian life. Without it men are continually perplexed concerning their duty and their liberty. It is a remark of John Newton, that “love is the clearest and most persuasive casuist; and when our love to the Lord is in lively exercise, and the rule of his word is in our eye, we seldom make great mistakes.” Cold reason can never safely settle questions which must chiefly be determined by the heart. Logic is a poor substitute for love. Right affections are often a better guide than all the rules of reasoning. This is so with the mother, in her
sleepless care of her babe. It is so with the devoted husband, in his ceaseless watch over his helpless wife. It is so when filial piety sits down to watch the last flickerings of life in a venerable and beloved parent. It is eminently so in the love of a child of God, to his Father who is in heaven.
He who finds his heart warmed with love to God need not trouble himself respecting his election. Leighton well says, “He who loves God, may be sure that he was first loved by God. And he who chooses God for his delight and portion, may conclude confidently that God has chosen him to be one of those who shall enjoy him, and be happy with him forever; for that our love and electing of him is but the return and repercussion of the beams of his love shining among us.” “Love begets love.” This is most true of God’s love to us. All our love to him, is engendered by his love to us. And so if we choose him, we may know that he has chosen us, and ordained us, that we should bear much fruit to his glory.
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