There is that which we call natural love. After having fallen into sin, man can still have that. Some people however can reveal bitter hatred. There are those whom we can rightly call criminals, who spend a good part of their lives in prison.
But the serious question is whether we and our neighbors have spiritual love. Having considered yesterday the fact that we are surrounded by people who walk as "children of disobedience," we should note that Paul in Ephesians 2:3 wrote, "Among whom also we had our conversation in times past in the lust of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
Now we are going to appreciate what God did for us through His Son and His cross and Spirit, if we hold on tightly to the truth which Paul wrote. The main question is not simply whether we hate the neighbor and treat him cruelly by word of mouth or hand. The deeper question is whether we hate God. The question also is whether we love God and strive to serve Him with all that He gives us and all that we have.
A most important manifestation of love for God is whether we agree with Him when He states here that we are by nature children of wrath.
Children of wrath are those whom Satan has filled with wrath against God. He got Adam and Eve to hate Him. In the church-world today he tries very strongly to get us to walk more fully in hatred toward God. And that is what makes us hate the neighbor and break His law left and right.
What a blessing then if with Paul we can say that in times past we were that way, but now in God's grace we are children who love Him and who strive to serve Him as much as we can.
Of that blessedness Paul will begin to write in the rest of this chapter. But we must know our wicked nature to appreciate what He did for us through His Son.
Read: Romans 7
Through the Bible in One Year
II Kings 22:3-20
II Kings 23:1-30
Quote for Reflection:
"We could say, then, that the mother’s task is to oversee the forging of Christian character and faith in her sons and daughters. The Christian mother is the one who sets the tone in the home for the entire life of the family and children." – Rev. Carl Haak
- Date: 3-July