Divine Love

The love of the Father to the Son.

"The Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth." John 5:20.

"The Father loveth the Son"! Let us well weigh these wondrous words, spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ when here in the world. Who can estimate their fulness, or fathom the deep depths of divine affection these five short words express? Who can fully understand their meaning save Him who

"Dwells in that bosom - knoweth all
That in that bosom lies"?

The love of the Father to the Son, how infinite in its greatness! How constant in its character, and eternal in its nature! It could not be otherwise, for He, the object of the Father's love, was ever blessedly worthy of the love that was thus bestowed upon Him. In the realisation of the Father's love, perfect calm pervaded His soul while crossing the surging sea of this world's bitter hatred in His journey to the cross. In the enjoyment of that love He found His rest in the presence of all His rejection and reproach, and in the joy of it He could invite the heavy-laden to come to Him to share the rest that filled His own spirit, and that caused Him to rejoice.

In the verse we have read we see one way in which love works, one of the activities in which it is expressed: "The Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth." Love confides all its secrets to its object, and makes known all its doings to its friend. There is a delightful transparency attending true love, of which a stranger knows nothing. As man here below, the ever-blessed Son was always in the secret of the Father, and ever the intelligent discerner of the Father's works. There was no veil between the Father and the Son; the Father showed Him all things that He did Himself.

We see another way in which love works in chapter 3:35: "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand." Love confides, and love gives. Nothing is too great for love to bestow upon the object of its choice. The Father's heart of infinite love has given all things into the hand of His ever-worthy Son. All things are given unto Him, from authority over all flesh on the one hand to His own that are in the world on the other. How His heart was dwelling on His Father's love-gift as He exclaimed, "Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me"! Yes, the Father in the greatness of His love has given us to His ever-blessed Son, and He has proved Himself to be worthy of such a charge, and competent to conduct our hearts into all that is expressed in the Father's love and name.

The Father has also in His love and power raised Him from among the dead and seated Him in the highest place at His own right hand, and the contemplation of this may well fill our hearts with praise and worship as we consider the greatness of His love as thus bestowed upon His ever blessed Son.

The love of the Son to the Father.

In the next place, we may consider the love of the Son to the Father as alluded to in chapter 14:31: "But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence."

In response to the Father's love, and in order that the purposes of the Father's heart might find their full accomplishment, He must go through death. In order that His Father might have the joy of having His many sons to surround Himself in glory, He must reach the Father in resurrection. For although He could be with the Father on this side of death, we could not be, for death was upon us; therefore, that the Father's purposes of love might be accomplished in our being brought to Him for His pleasure, Christ must needs go to the Father through death. But love in the heart of the Son towards the Father and towards His Church has proved itself equal to the occasion. It led Him down from the glory He had with the Father before the world was; it led Him through this world of sin and opposition, and also led Him through death, even the death of the cross. He had His Father's will and pleasure ever before Him, and in love He has removed, at infinite cost, all that stood in the way of that will and pleasure finding their full accomplishment. He found His delight in doing the will of Him who had sent Him. His was indeed a service of pure and perfect love.

In this we see that the Father's love to the Son and the Son's love to the Father are co-equal, co-infinite, and co-eternal, for in love the Divine Persons are necessarily one. There was no break or limit in the love of the Father, and there was no break or limit in the love of the Son. And the love of each has been fully reciprocated by the other. What an atmosphere of perfect rest, an atmosphere unknown to man until the blessed Son of God came into the world to make it known and to give our hearts to share in that rest of pure and perfect love that had ever been enjoyed by Himself!

The love of Christ to the saints.

I turn now to another side of our subject, namely, the love of Christ to His saints. (See chapter 15:9.) "As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love."

The disciples had heard Him speak of the Father's love to Him, and in some measure had discerned that He had been the object of that love; they had contemplated His glory, the glory of the only-begotten with the Father, and had heard the Father announce Him His beloved Son; they had contemplated the constancy and continuity of the Father's love towards Him, and had seen the perfect calm and rest of soul that He enjoyed in the realisation of that love. Now He tells them that as the Father had loved Him, so had He loved them, and that it was their privilege to continue in His love. As the Father had loved Him without measure, so had He loved them. As the Father had loved Him continuously, so had He loved them. As the Father had shown Him all things that He did Himself, so had He made known to them, His friends, all things that He had heard of His Father. And as the Father had given Him all things, so He, in the greatness of His love, has given us to share all things with Himself. Even the glory that has been given to Him He has given unto us, and every spiritual blessing He has given us to share in association with Himself.

We need again and again to have our hearts reminded of the fervency and freshness of the present love of Christ, for nothing is so soon lost by us as the enjoyment of divine love. First love was very soon left by the Church, but the Lord still lives and loves His Church unchangingly, and I think that in the closing days of the Church's history on earth He is by His Spirit causing His love to be brought before us in a very special way, to the end that we might take up the cry of the Spirit and the Bride, and in true affection invite our Lord to come.

The Father's love to the saints.

This leads us to the thought expressed in chapter 16:27, "The Father Himself loveth you." We have considered the love of the Father to the Son, and the love of the Son to the Father, and the love of Christ to the saints. Now we find the blessed Lord telling His disciples that the Father, who had loved Him, also loved them; therefore they did not need that He should influence the Father on their behalf, for the Father Himself loved them, because they had loved Him and had believed that He had come out from God.

The Father's love to the Son is such that He discerns, appreciates, and magnifies the smallest spark of love in our hearts towards Christ - a love begotten by His love to us - and He loves us because we love the One whom He loves. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is our God and Father, and this involves that we are loved by the Father as He was loved by Him. I desire that your heart and mine may enter into and enjoy the Father's love, and find in it sufficient leverage to lift our hearts out of the things that are seen and temporal, so that we may be delivered from all that is of the world. I do not think we know much of real deliverance from things here until that love is in some measure realised and enjoyed by us.

The Lord has declared unto us His Father's name, that the love wherewith He has been loved may be in us, that it may be apprehended and enjoyed in our souls, so that we may join Him and worship in the holiest of all.

The love of the saints to each other.

I have one more point to consider before I close, and this is our love to one another. Turn now to chapter 13:34: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." We have considered the love of the Father to the Son and the love of the Son to the Father, also the love of the Father to the saints and the love of Christ to His own that are in the world. He had loved them as the Father had loved Him, and has set them in the circle of the Father's love. Now He appeals to us, yea, commands us, to love one another as He has loved us.

It is because He loves us each that He desires that each saint should love each and every other saint. He counts upon our love to Him to be expressed towards Himself in loving those whom He loves. He has left the assembly here to be the home on earth of heavenly love, and as He praises the Father through us, so He often shows His present love to His saints through the saints. He seeks that each saint should love each other saint. In this way the assembly is set in the circle of divine affections both as a receiver and a giver. And as our souls are set in the presence of the Father's love by the Spirit of His Son, and as we enter into the love of Christ by the Spirit of the Father, our love rises up to the Father and the Son, and we worship within the veil and "love one another with a pure heart fervently." Our love flows out towards the saints because they are the loved ones of the Father and the Son.

If you are in the enjoyment of divine love, you do not find it difficult to love your brethren. If you are not, you may endeavour to love them, but will sadly fail in the attempt.

The Lord direct our hearts into the love of God, and may we keep ourselves in that love until we reach the home on high of everlasting love, the Father's house in heaven.

E. W.