And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Colossians 3:14.
The next step in the ladder is charity. Add “to brotherly kindness charity,” which is love. Love to God and love to our neighbor constitute the whole duty of man. Without brotherly kindness we cannot exhibit the grace of love to God or to our fellow men.
This last step in the ladder gives to the will a new spring of action. Christ offers a love that passeth knowledge. This love is not something kept apart from our life, but it takes hold of the entire being. The heaven to which the Christian is climbing will be attained only by those who have this crowning grace. This is the new affection which pervades the soul. The old is left behind. Love is the great controlling power. When love leads, all the faculties of mind and spirit are enlisted. Love to God and love to man will give the clear title to heaven.
No one can love God supremely and transgress one of His commandments. The heart softened and subdued with the beauty of Christ’s character and bridled by the pure and lofty rules which He has given us will put into practice what it has learned of love, and will follow Jesus forthwith in humble obedience. The living power of faith will reveal itself in loving acts.
What evidence have we that we have the pure love, without alloy? God has erected a standard—His commandments. “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.” John 14:21. The words of God must have an abiding place in our hearts.
We are to love our brethren as Christ has loved us. We are to be patient and kind, and yet there is something lacking—we must love. Christ tells us that we must forgive the erring even seventy times seven…. When there is much forgiven, the heart loves much. Love is a tender plant. It needs to be constantly cultured or it will wither and die.