For the Christian, the life of holiness is that wick. Holiness draws life, the life of God from its base to the flame (the grace of the Holy Spirit) that expresses itself in the Christ-like life or fruit of the Spirit, with love at the apex and almost either encompassing other departments of the Christ-like life or the fruit of the Spirit, or exhibiting their characteristics or elements. Love reaches out to the world in its various dimensions and inseparably of other departments of the Spirit’s fruit (singular): “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” – Galatians 5:22-23.
When the life of God in us meets with the flame of the Holy Spirit, it is always glow, heat and power as we see in the Acts of the Apostles and read in holy revivals of past ages. Holy living and unfeigned love of the brethren is key and common denominators in them all. This also can only be the secret in our days.
Tertullian who lived from about 160 to about 220 A.D. is noted for many things including these two quotes of his: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” and “See how they (Christians) love one another”. Yes, unfeigned love, hearty togetherness, sweet fellowship, holy communication and other-centeredness of the saints or holy brethren are that glow and heat! Yes, this is where the Holy Spirit dwells with His power and where God commands the blessing. Any age that has relived the Acts of the Apostles in history has known the visitation of the Holy Ghost the Acts way! “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world” – 1 John 4:16-17. This thing connects with eternity, our being in eternity with God.
We are individually called unto Holiness. That is our individual identity that we must keep and grow in. Its taproot must be firm in the Cross of Calvary where we are saved and where all graces flow to keep us through this dark world of sin. But while maintaining our individual holiness we must reach out to others in the faith with love. The wick individually taps to its base, its source of life. It absorbs life through its own ‘roots’, ‘stump’ and ‘trunk’ standing alone; but at the top where the flame spreads to touch other wicks’ flames ; what a glow! Love is the ‘branches’ of one Christian that spreads and touches another branches of another Christian just like one lit wick touching another lit wick, and if you have many of them together in this way; O what a thing, what a glow and what a heat! This, I say, is where the Holy Spirit dwells and God commands the blessing.
The saint like a wick must individually tap to its taproot: The love or Cross of Christ; and his own roots, stump and trunk, as it were, would, of course, individually stand firm and personally live the life of holiness. But atop let the branches touch other branches; let them embrace others in unfeigned and holy love of the brethren. Unfeigned love of the brethren is chief proof of our holiness, of our sainthood, our discipleship; and by this shall men know that we are Christ’s disciples; and this is the proof that we have seen God and known Him…And this love is necessarily pure. It is agape love – Christ kind of love! First pure and coming from the innermost being of the brethren and powered by the Holy Spirit this is the love acceptable to God.
Without holiness no man shall see God (Hebrews 12:14). But we cannot say we have holiness or that we are holy without its chief evidence. 1 Peter 1:22 tells us this: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently”. Seeing! This is talking to men who have purified their souls: saved and pure souls (holy lives – pure hearts and clean hands or inner holiness evidenced by transformed living) by obedience of the truth of God’s Word through or by the grace of the ministry and workings of the Holy Spirit.
The goal of purifying our souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit is also told us in the verse: Unto…! ‘Unto unfeigned love of the brethren’! This being so, the command follows immediately and it is very pointed: ‘see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently’. Here we see that holiness leads to love, and love is carried in holiness. Except holiness transports love, it is not love. With this truth, 1Corinthians 13: 3 comes very plain: “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing”. Love must be pure, and from a pure heart.
And yet something else! Love should not only be pure and holy, but fervent, the same verse tells us. Love must be beautiful or have good glow which only holiness offers, and must also be hot or fervent (never lukewarm) which, the Holy Spirit offers when it has holiness as carriage. When the ‘branches’ above joined themselves with others even while our individual ‘roots’, ‘stumps’ and ‘trunks’ are rooted on their Taproot, with the life of holiness intact, it is usually wonderful upstairs where the glow of each ‘wick’ blend into a sweet communion, godly fellowship, holy dwelling together and unfeigned love for one another. Here, the Holy Spirit dwells. Here, God commands the blessing.
Love brought God to us, and no topic can be more important. Love is one word that explains ‘the golden rule’: Doing unto others what we want them to do unto us. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). Jesus says in John 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Since those eternal words by the Eternal Word Himself no other command is most repeated and or emphasized to New Testament believers. Brotherly love! We take only two, and verbatim:
The Apostle of Love’s Two Synopsis on Brotherly Love
1 John 3:11-24:
“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment. And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in hi
m. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us.”
1 John 4:7-21:
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love Him, because He first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God Whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
Purpose of the Commandment
Love that gives or giving driven by love is the need of the Church today. This contrast with what the Scriptures apparently counsels against in 1Corinthians 13: 3 earlier quoted viz.: “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing”. There is giving that is not charity or love. The world is full of that. Many church folks are into it too. This profits nothing. It has already received its reward having been done in pride; given grudgingly, hypocritically or out of compulsion; or done publicly for show and to attract attention, recognition, honor, glory and praise from men etc.
1Timothy 1: 5 calls the love that is acceptable to God ‘charity out of a pure heart’, and this plus a ‘good conscience’ and ‘faith unfeigned’ it calls ‘the end of the commandment’ or the purpose of the commandment: “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling” – 1Timothy 1: 5-6.
In discussing these verses in “Between Holiness and ‘Prosperity’ Preaching”, I said inter alia: “Charity out of a pure heart, good conscience and faith unfeigned must attend our lives and ministries. We must not swerve or stray from them unto vain jangling. Love must be pure, conscience must be right and faith must be sincere; and we shall soon discover that we are presenting true Christianity and the people of God under us are getting it the real New Testament way. Away therefore with all these emotions and psychological maneuvering of our people because of our fleshly dictates and desires.”
That true love links with eternity with God is very clear and it is a major theme of I Corinthians 13. It (love) never fails; it never ceases; or it never vanish away (verse 8). It cannot be done away with (verse 10). “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (verses12-13).
It endures forever. And so where it is, God commands the blessing: Life for evermore! And they that dwell here, that is to say, dwell in love; have God dwelling with them and have God always therefore commanding the blessing: Life for evermore. And they that dwell in love, and so have God dwelling with them will dwell with Him eternally. It endures forever with all that dwell in it.
Many there are who know that “…God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. That is Love come down from above that brought and gave us eternal life. But not so many know that love among the brethren is the continuity or extension of that Love which also attracts the blessing: Life for evermore, from God.
But in holiness let each brother live for our God and serve Him also thus, for there is really no other way; and let us live and dwell together in unity and with brotherly love for this doesn’t fail, and its results astonishing every way, its rewards ever enduring . Let’s endeavor to so live; for then, the Holy Spirit will begin to do His great eternal works in our midst, as in the days of old. We can have and know God much more than we have and know Him today in our midst. But we must be brethren indeed (holy brethren) and must dwell in love, unfeigned love; must dwell together in unity!
And God’s Word says this is good and pleasant and God wants us to live it, see and taste the result: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore” – Psalm 133.