by David and Stephen Olford
Thought: The life of righteousness is essentially the holy expression of divine love. Three characteristics of this perfect love will stand out in the verses before us.
1. It is a dutiful love. "...Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (v. 44). The word "bless" means "to speak well of," or "to eulogize;" so that even when we are tempted to say evil of our enemies, the dutifulness of divine love expels the hatred with a perfect love. Indeed, in practical terms, instead of hating, we should seek to perform the good deeds for our enemies and to pray for them which despitefully use us.
2. It is a "disinterested" love. "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (v. 45). There are two things that characterize a disinterested or indiscriminant love: it is a love which is infinite. Our capacity may be limited, but still there should be a quality about our love which is supernatural and spiritual. Secondly, such love is impartial, for there is no discrimination in divine love.
3. It is a distinctive love. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (v. 48). To be thus perfect is surely to live under the motivation of a perfect love. John reminds us that "there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear
(1 John 4:18). It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to beget in us and express through us this perfect love (see Rom. 5:5 and Eph. 5:18); to know this perfect love is to be able to give and forgive. How this was gloriously demonstrated in the life and ministry of our blessed Lord! Surely, the greatest need in the Christian church today is for a new baptism of perfect love.
"May the love of Jesus fill me,
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self-abasing,
This is victory."
Kate B. Wilkinson<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>