By The Love of God
…let us love one another…
1 John 4:7
I do not hesitate to say that the ultimate test of our profession of the Christian faith is this whole question of our loving one another. Indeed, I do not hesitate to aver that it is a more vital test than our orthodoxy. I am the last man in the world to say anything against orthodoxy, but I am here to say that it is not the final test. Orthodoxy is absolutely essential; this epistle [1 John] has shown us that repeatedly, and it will show it to us again. We must believe the right things, for apart from that we have nothing at all and we have no standing whatsoever; so the correctness of belief is absolutely essential. And yet I say that when we come to the realm of experience and self-examination, the test of orthodoxy is not the ultimate test.
Alas, let us admit it—it is possible for a person to be absolutely correct and yet not to be a Christian. It is possible for men and women to give perfect intellectual assent to the propositions that are to be found in the Bible; it is possible for them to be interested in theology and to say that one theology is superior to another and to accept and defend and argue about it, and yet to be utterly devoid of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the love of God in their hearts. This is a terrible thought, it is a terrible possibility, but it is a fact. There have been men also who have clearly been perfectly orthodox—champions of the faith—and yet they have denied that very faith in the bitterness with which they have sometimes defended it. I repeat, the test of orthodoxy, while it is so vital and essential, is not enough. There is a more thoroughgoing test, and it is this test of brotherly love—love for one another.
A Thought to Ponder
The ultimate test of our profession of the Christian faith is our loving one another.
From The Love of God, pp. 39-40.