ReligiousNews 11/2/16: LOVE - By Evangelist Chi Benedicta Okonkwo

[ Masterweb Reports: Evangelist Chi Benedicta Okonkwo on Love ] - Of this there are five kinds, which vary according to the object upon which love is exercised. The attribute in God is the same; but it is in its exit, or in its termination, that it assumes these different forms.

 

  1. There is the love of complacency or approbation. This is exercised towards a worthy object in which excellencies are perceived. This is exercised by God, in its highest degree, in the love of himself, of his own nature and character, because the infinitely excellent must be to God the highest object of complacent love.

The complacent love of God, therefore, extends not only to himself and his will, but to all his innocent creation and even to inanimate nature.

 

This love of complacency, however, as it is exercised in its highest degree towards himself, so also is it exhibited, in the nearest approach to that, towards those beings who are most like himself, having been made in his nature and likeness. An innocent angel, or an innocent man is therefore by nature a joy to God, as is the child to the father who sees in it a peculiar likeness to himself.

 

But the guilty cannot thus be loved. Sinful man cannot receive such love, so long as sinful. Even the penitent believer in Jesus, until the time of his perfect sanctification in the life to come, and doubtless even then, has access to God only through Christ, and, of himself, can in no respect secure the approbation of God.

 

2.The second kind of love, is the love of benevolence, which corresponds to the idea of God’s goodness towards his creatures. This is the product of his wishes for their happiness. It is not dependent on their character, as is the love of complacency, but is exercised towards both innocent and guilty. It is general in its nature, not special, and exists towards all, even towards devils, and wicked men, because God’s nature is benevolent, and, therefore, he must wish for the happiness of his creatures.

 

That that happiness is not attained, nor attainable, is due, not to him, but to their own sin.

 

When the benevolence of God is exercised actively in the bestowment of good things upon his creatures, it is called his beneficence. By the former, he wishes them happiness, by the latter, he confers blessings to make them so.

 

This is done to the wicked also, as well as to the righteous. It is to this that Christ refers, Matthew 5:45, “ He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.”

 

3.The third form of love is the love of compassion.

 

This corresponds to our idea of pity. It is benevolent disposition to those who are suffering or in distress.

 

This also may be exercised towards the guilty or the innocent, if it be possible to suppose that guilt and suffering are separable. It has been very commonly held that they are



 

inseparable. Pain , suffering and distress have been believed to be the result of sin, and consequently, inseparable from guilt. But this is a mistaken notion. Man in a state of innocence was made capable of physical suffering. That capacity was necessary to the protection of his physical organism.

 

It can be and is also exercised toward the guilty. We see this in the forbearance with which he delays their punishment, in his constant offers of mercy, in his yearnings after their salvation, and most signally, in the gift of his only begotten Son, “ that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16.

 

4. A fourth form of the love of God corresponds to what we call mercy.

 

This can be exercised only toward sinners.

 

Its very nature contemplates guilt in its objects.

 

It consists, not only in the desire not to inflict the punishment due to sin, and the neglect and refusal to do so, but in the actual pardon of the offender. It cannot be exercised towards a righteous being, because, in him is no sin or guilt to be pardoned.

 

Under the ancient economy, God ruled as theocratic ruler over Israel. Sins of the nation and sins of individuals in their capacity of citizens of the nation, were pardoned.

 

Under that dispensation God occupied to that people the position of an earthly ruler, and consequently could pardon sins against his government at will, upon repentance, and upon merely governmental principle-that is, such as would secure obedience to the law, peace and order, and the welfare of the nation. These were offences against the mere person of the king or the laws of his state, and not against the fundamental principles of holiness and righteousness; hence sovereignty and expediency could decide in each case what might be done, and mercy was exercised and justice dispensed accordingly.

 

But this is very different from the case of God, the righteous judge, the dispenser, not of arbitrary law, but of a law based upon his own nature and that of man, essential obedience to which is necessary, not for maintaining government, but for preserving and maintaining the right and preventing the violation with impunity of eternal law.

 

In both cases God must act in harmony with his whole nature.

 

5. The fifth form of love is that of affection.

 

This differs from that of complacency inasmuch as it does not always demand a worthy object. This is exhibited in the parable of the “ Prodigal Son.”



 

It differs from that of benevolence, inasmuch as its object is not viewed in general with all others, but is one of special interest.

 
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