Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
this trouble) are spheres in which God's justice acted and is acting. One may ask, How could justice inflict such exemplary punishments? We answer: While Jesus' death provides for the cancellation of the Adamic sin for those in whose interests it is used—for the Church now and for the world in the Millennium—it does not cleanse from the willfulness of any sin, apart from Adam's. Wholly willful sin brings eternal destruction on its committers, who can be those only on whose behalf the ransom merit has been used—the Church now, and the world in the Millennium (Heb. 10: 26-29). But there are mixed sins—sins that are partly due to Adamic weakness and partly due to willfulness. The weakness in such sins is taken care of through the ransom, but their willfulness is not. The latter must be expiated by stripes (Luke 12: 47). Justice requires the punishment of such willfulness, and that in the interests of all concerned—such striping being reformatory in its purpose. The Jews at the end of their Age were very willful in much of their wickedness; therefore wrath— punishment—came to them unto the uttermost (1 Thes. 2: 16). When those Jews come back in the Millennium and recognize the character of their punishment, they will be thereby helped to reform. The same is true in principle of our generation. Never did any generation have so much light, privilege and opportunity to do good as ours; yet the vast majority go on with a large measure of willfulness in evil doing, e.g., undoubtedly the wrongs against better knowledge wrought by the European nations against one another brought about the World War, by which all of them were severely punished. When the present tribulation will be ended, those remaining alive will by it be humbled into yielding obedience to the Kingdom; while those who die in it will, on their return by an understanding of it be helped to reform. Thus the tribulation will beat out of their characters the willfulness that they developed, and thus
justice will be satisfied and they will be benefited. So is God's justice vindicated in its dealings with Jews and Christians who have sinned in measurable willfulness against the light and privilege of their respective Dispensations or Ages.
Some have difficulty in seeing that God is just in inflicting the Adamic death upon the race since Jesus' death, whereby He has provided the ransom-price. Why, they ask, has Adamic death not ceased since He died, if He died as a ransom for all? To this we reply: It is one thing to provide the ransom-price, which Jesus did by His death; it is another thing to pay over that price in the purchase of the race. Jesus' resurrection as a spirit being put Him into a position where He no more needed His perfect humanity, with its right to life and its life-rights, for Himself. He therefore could from that time on use them as an asset in the interests of others. Thus He could from that time on use them to buy Adam and Adam's race. But instead of using them in that way, though He is the propitiation for the world's sins as well as for the Church's (1 John 2: 2), He has during the Gospel Age been reckonedly buying only the Church (Heb. 9: 24), for whom only He has appeared in God's presence; just as Aaron's first typical appearance with the typical blood was for the types of the Church only—the priests and Levites (Lev. 16: 6). Hence the world, not yet being purchased, is under the Adamic sentence, and thus is dying for Adam's sin at the demand of justice. They are to be purchased in the Millennium, when Christ will appear the second time in the presence of God with His merit, just as at Aaron's second typical appearing in the Holy of Holies with the typical blood for the types of the world—all the people of Israel—the atonement was made for the people, as distinct from priests and Levites (Lev. 16: 15). The two appearances of Aaron in the Holy of Holies for the two classes in Israel were furnished by
God to type the two appearances of Christ in heaven for the two classes in the human family, the time of Aaron's first appearing typing the Gospel Age, when Christ appears before God for the Church, and the time of his second appearing typing the Millennium, when Christ will appear before God for the world and ransom—buy—them. Thus there is justice in God's exacting the Adamic sentence from the world, since the world is not yet purchased from the Adamic death. But, some object, why does the Church die the Adamic death in spite of its being reckonedly purchased? We answer: The Church does not die the Adamic death; for by the imputation of the merit of the ransom-price the Church has been justified from that death by justice itself (Heb. 10: 14); hence it does not exact that death from the Church. The death which the Church is dying is the sacrificial death, as we showed above, which is not exacted by justice, but is freely and gladly undergone by the Church with Christ, in sacrifice for the world.
The next stage for the play of justice will be its release of the deposited purchase-price from the embargo that the reckoned purchase of the Church placed upon it; for as long as it has against it the claims of the reckoned purchase, justice holds it, as it were, mortgaged for the Church, and therefore will not let it go for the purchase of the world until these mortgage claims are removed from it. When the humanity of all who have had this reckoned purchase made for them is dead, they will no more need the imputed merit to free them from the Adamic death, since when they return they will return from death as spirit beings. Thus at the death of each of these the imputed purchase is no longer needed for him, and thus the embargo is lifted from his share of the purchase-price. Consequently when all of these are dead, the embargo on the deposited ransom-price is entirely lifted; for then there are no more imputations outstanding. Hence
the deposited ransom-price will be Christ's, without any claim against it for what He has done for the Church. It will then be free from all claims against it, and as such can be used by Christ in actually purchasing from justice Adam and his race. This will be done at Christ's second—the Millennial—appearing in heaven, and that for the world, whose propitiation He is, as well as that of the Church (1 John 2: 2). On receiving the price, justice will hand over the world to Christ as His purchased possession, free from the Adamic sentence. As a result, the Adamic death sentence being cancelled, Jesus will raise mankind out of death, free from the death sentence. And His ownership of the world Jesus will use to give the world the Millennial opportunities of restitution. And whoever faithfully obeys Christ will be restored to the original perfection of Adam. Those who will not even outwardly obey will by Jesus, acting as the Agent of justice, be put to death, and that eternally, after 100 years' opportunity (Is. 65: 20). Those who obey only externally, and not from the heart, will be destroyed by God's justice, when after a final trial at the end of the Millennium, they openly sin under Satan's lead (Rev. 20: 7-9). This is just in the case of both of these classes of sinners; for they alike will refuse to use life upon the condition on which justice, its giver, will require it to be used; it will also save them from eternal unhappiness, and prevent their making the righteous eternally unhappy. Therefore, justly will it withdraw the conditional gift. But the obedient of the Millennium will be granted everlasting life in the perfected earth by justice, because they will have fulfilled the condition upon which its continuance is granted; and because they will use their privileges for mutual good and God's honor.
Thus the entire plan of God is in harmony with, and marvelously displays, His justice. And as we look over the operation of Divine justice, as presented
above, from the creation of Adam until God's plan has reached its complete fulfillment in the eternal annihilation of the incorrigible and in the everlasting bliss of the obedient, we may well cry out in wonder, praise and adoration: "Just and true are all Thy ways, thou King of Ages" (Rev. 15: 3)! We may also be sure that in the plans that He will work out for His future creations in the universe about this earth, there will be in them a similar harmony with, and display of, His justice, His throne's foundation (Ps. 89: 14).
We now proceed to the study of the third of God's higher primary graces, i.e., charity, or as we usually call it in more modern speech, love. It is regrettable that the word charity has suffered a degradation in meaning from that prevalent formerly; for instead of its being usually employed in the noble sense of former times, it is now used mostly to represent alms and alm-deeds. The reason we regret the almost entire disuse of the word charity in its noble sense and the substitution of the noun love in its place, is because love is a broader term than charity, which is only one kind of love. The noun love is in both the Authorized and Revised Versions used for the love of justice and also for the love of charity. The original Greek uses two different nouns for these two forms of love— philia for the love of justice, and agape for the love of charity. But since we have in English only the one verb to express the action of loving in justice and in charity, we will in our article treat of the attribute of charity, under the term love. For clearness' sake we will define its two forms. The love of justice is duty-love, the love of charity is disinterested love. By duty-love the love that is by right owed to others is meant; and by disinterested love the love that, apart from obligation, is given out of a delight in good principles is meant. In a preceding portion of this chapter we treated of the former, now we propose to treat of the latter. Disinterested love, therefore, is the sense in
which we use the word love as God's third higher primary character attribute.
What is love in its wider sense? We answer that it is good-will. This definition fits both the love of justice and the love of charity. The reason that we define love as goodwill is because it is the only quality that never disappears from the idea or expression of love. Therefore it must be its essence. Love may express itself in a variety of forms each one of which may exclude all other forms, but never is the idea of goodwill excluded from it. Thus a father desiring to benefit a wayward child may give him a severe beating. Hence from the father's act, gentleness, leniency, longsuffering, forbearance and forgiveness—various manifestations of love—are absent, but good-will is present. A man refusing alms to a proven unworthy subject in order to reform him is not expressing liberality, but is expressing good-will. The parent sending an oft disobedient child to bed early and supperless so as to better its conduct is not expressing kindness, but is expressing good-will. Jesus' rebuking the Pharisees and driving out the defilers of the temple did not show politeness, but did show good-will. Thus there are many expressions of love in which this, that or the other grace is lacking; but never can there be an expression of love without good-will. This being the case, love must be good-will. Disinterested love—charity—is therefore disinterested good-will, and duty-love—justice— is duty-good-will. What, then, is disinterested love or goodwill? We once asked this question of a member of a Bible class, and were told that it is the love or good-will in which we have no interest in another. On our asking how we could love at all, if not interested in others, the error in the answer became apparent. The answerer was looking at the wrong party for the one in whom no interest was had. It is the actor who is disinterested in self, but is interested unselfishly, from love of good principles, in others,
when exercising disinterested love. Disinterested love is an unselfish love that goes out to others in good-will, regardless of consequences or sacrifices brought upon self thereby. In duty-love there is always an element of natural, but not sinful, selfishness. Thus in duty-love we love God for the good He has done us, and we love our neighbor as we would have him love us; but in disinterested love we love God and others, because we delight in good principles, and that apart from any selfish consideration. This is the quality in God that we understand to be meant by the third attribute among His higher primary graces. Such a love in God is referred to in many Scriptures, e.g., John 3: 16; 14: 21, 23; 17: 23, 26; Rom. 5: 8; 2 Cor. 9: 7; Eph. 2: 4; Tit. 3: 4; 1 John 3: 1; 4: 8-10, 12, 16, 19; Jude 21.
God's disinterested love, like ours, is based on a delight in good principles (Jer. 9: 24; Ps. 1: 2; 40: 8; 45: 7). Therefore the first element in God's love is delight in, or appreciation of, good principles. He delights in, i.e., appreciates, them because they are good. Therefore He abhors and is grieved at bad principles in themselves and in action (Gen. 6: 6). Based upon this delight in good principles is a second element in God's love—delight in, i.e., appreciation of, those who are in harmony with good principles (Ps. 146: 8; Prov. 15: 8, 9; 11: 2; 12: 22; John 14: 21, 23). Hence He abhors totally wicked persons proven irreformable after full opportunity (Lev. 26: 30; Ps. 5: 6). Based upon this delight in good principles is also a third element in God's love—sympathy with the righteous and pity for the unrighteous. This sympathy with the righteous first of all feels at one with them, i.e., is in heart unison with them (John 17: 11, 21, 23, 26). Then it feels with them when they are treated by others out of harmony with good principles (Is. 63: 9; Rev. 6: 9-11). And, finally, it feels for them in whatever disharmony with good principles they may have (Ps. 103: 13-18). It also pities the unrighteous in their disharmonies
with good principles, in their resultant sufferings and in their being treated out of harmony with good principles (Ex. 34: 6, 7; Judges 10: 16; 2 Kings 13: 23; Ps. 78: 38, 39; Is. 63: 9; Lam. 3: 22; Jas. 5: 11). As a final and fourth element of love, it delights, from the above described appreciation and sympathy or pity, to sacrifice in order to further good principles in and for others, thereby seeking to bring them into harmony with good principles, and to oppose wrong principles for the rescue of others from their evil nature and effect. From this analysis of love into its four component parts, we recognize that it is not gush or sentimentality, but is one of the noblest, yea, the very noblest of all good qualities. "The greatest of these is charity"—love. Love in God's character is of the highest possible kind. It adorns His character more than any other of His character attributes.
All of God's acts, some more, some less, manifest His love in one or more of its four elements. This will appear from a consideration of His acts. His creative acts are all more or less expressions of love; for in ultimate analysis creation exists as a product of, and a sphere for the activity of God's love in the blessing of beings in harmony with good principles. Yea, He made all things for His pleasure, i.e., the pleasure of doing good (Rev. 4: 11). Do we look above us at the starry heavens? In them we see worlds that God is preparing for the abode of holy beings whom it will be His pleasure to make in order to exemplify forever the reign of good principles. Do we look at our own planet? In it we see a future home for a sin-rescued and holy race forever one with God along lines of good principles. Do we behold His providences? They are working together for good now for the Church and later for the world. Does He give sunshine to the good and the evil, and does He send rain upon the just and the unjust? It is to help them on toward harmony with good principles. Yea, all His creative and
providential works in nature display as well as flow out of His love, even if not exclusively so.
This is also manifest in man's original creation. His delight in good principles prompted Him to make man very good—in His image and likeness (Gen. 1: 26-28, 31). It was a loving thing in God to make man good in all his faculties of body, mind and heart, and thus endowed with happiness. It was a loving thing in God to surround man with everything that ministered to his well being and happiness. Flower and fruit, light and warmth, air and water, earth and sky, vegetable and animal, man and woman, life and health, perfection of being and fellowship with God, were one and all gifts of love to man from His loving Creator. God's intention in all this was to advance man in harmony with good principles. Thus love shines out in God's creative work in and for man. This is also apparent in God's work toward man on trial. It was disinterested love that sought by man's trial to advance him unto crystallization of character and thus to fitness for everlasting manifestation of harmony with good principles. Love saw to it that the conditions of the trial were such as would have contributed to this end, had man remained faithful in the trial; and when man failed, love agreed to the death sentence as a means to prevent man's living forever in suffering and sin, which would have meant eternal torment and eternal existence of sin—things that of course God's love would not permit.
We see Divine love in the permission of evil. Ardently desiring good principles forever to reign, and being informed by Divine wisdom that the reign of evil would educate man as to the hatefulness of sin and the desirability of avoiding it, by teaching him through experience its terrible nature and effects, Divine love was willing to consent to the permission of evil, if ultimately God could effect good from it. All the more so was Divine love willing to consent to it when apprized by Divine wisdom that Divine love would, after
man's experience with evil, be given the opportunity to favor man with an experience with righteousness, which would heal him, as he would obey, from all the effects of the experience with evil and restore him to God's image and likeness. Since Divine love delights to spread good principles, it was of course delighted to consent to man's experience with evil, seeing that by the two above experiences it could be used to advance good in man.
In the meantime Divine love compatibly with the rights of justice was glad to draw into fellowship with God, and thus to advance good principles, those who, while evil prevailed in the world, felt after God and longed for fellowship with Him. Thus it delighted to help Abel into fellowship with God, Enoch to walk with God, and Noah, a preacher of righteousness, to witness for God amid a crooked and perverse generation. It was glad to bring the latter and his family safely through the flood to make a new start toward righteousness for mankind under the second dispensation. It took pleasure in drawing Abraham to the Lord until he became the trusted friend of God. It was glad to bless him and his descendants with covenant relations with God, inasmuch as this would not only keep some truth and righteousness alive, but would prepare the faithful of these as Ancient Worthies for participation in the great work of deliverance. Thus Divine love labored with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph unto this end. Moreover God's love acted toward Israel in making a covenant with them—the Mosaic Covenant. Not that it gave them life thereby, but that it gave them thereby further revelations fruitful in the spread of truth and righteousness among them, gave them a knowledge of their sins and sinfulness, brought the faithful among them to see that by their own best endeavors they were unable to save themselves, worked in them an intense longing for the promised Savior, prepared them to receive Him, helped the faithful
among them to qualify for Ancient Worthies and helped the measurably faithful among them to be fit for the first place among the world of mankind in the Restitution Age. Further, Divine love, so far as this was in harmony with justice, to whose demands it must ever defer, forgave sinning and backsliding Israel whenever it would repent, aroused movements conducive to repentance, blessed them with new revelations and ministries of the prophets and blessed their experiences and chastisements unto the furtherance of good principles. Thus throughout the Jewish Age, in which justice was the chief actor toward Israel, love wrought many a thing conducive to the spread of good principles. Love was delighted with the loyalty to faith and righteousness manifested therein. Hence Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Daniel and many others were highly esteemed by God, and His appreciation, sympathy and services toward them were abundant. Hebrews 11 shows how His disinterested love acted toward these. Then, too, God's love in its form of sympathy repeatedly had compassion on His people under oppression, e.g., by the Egyptians, Midianites, Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, Syrians, etc., and out of such sympathy effected their deliverance. Furthermore it showed itself in His sending faithful prophets to remonstrate against the wickedness of Israelites and to call them to repentance and renewed fellowship with God. The missions of Elijah, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah and John the Baptist are illustrative of this. Beautifully is His love on this head, described in Jeremiah in the language, "rising early and sending them"—the prophets.
As the Jewish Age was ending Jehovah exercised the greatest expression of love ever manifested—making His only begotten Son human and giving Him up to the most shameful and painful death on behalf of His enemies (John 1: 14; 3: 16, 17; Rom. 5: 6-10). Only a good, loyal father who has an only and very
well beloved and promising son, if called upon to give him up to degradation and a shameful and painful death on behalf of enemies, could come to the nearest realization of what this meant to Jehovah. God's power to love is greater than we can imagine. His only begotten Son was His delight (Prov. 8: 30; Matt. 3: 17). In Him were the Father's ambitions centered. His companionship and co-operation gave the Father the most intense pleasure. He was continually making plans and entrusting them to the Son to execute, which He always did faithfully and efficiently. No wonder that the Father loved and favored chiefly His only begotten Son, who above all others had proven His faithfulness, trustworthiness and efficiency. No wonder that the Father greatly appreciated the Son, who brought all creation, animate and inanimate, earthly and heavenly, into existence and efficiently and faithfully superintended their preservation and activities. The love, appreciation and confidence of the Father toward such a Son was great.
On the other hand, those for whom the Father gave His Son had no claim on God. His justice had properly cast them off from His favor and sentenced them to death. The bulk of them cared nothing for Him. Yea, the bulk of them became confederate at a price—self-gratification—with the enemy of His person, character, word and work, to displease Him, to violate His laws, to seek to overthrow His cause, to pervert His subjects from loyalty to Him and to defy His authority. In a word, they became His enemies. But their sad estate of enslavement to sin, error and death, despite their indifference, callousness and enmity, deeply stirred up His compassion for them. He longed to deliver them from their bondage and bring them back into harmony with Him and good principles; and when justice at wisdom's suggestion offered to release these for a return to such a blessed estate on condition of His degrading His only begotten and well beloved Son
from the next highest nature to the lowest nature of free moral agents—humanity—and further suggested that in this degraded condition His Son be given up by Him to a death of the most disgraceful and painful kind, it suggested that love make the greatest possible sacrifice. And, marvelous to think, God's love was equal to this sacrifice; for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son [to degradation to the lowest free agent nature and to death in supreme shame and excruciating pain] that whosoever believeth on Him might not perish, but have everlasting life. God's love felt the degradation, shame, pain and death of His Son more deeply than His Son, Himself, felt them, even as in the type of this, Abraham felt the sorrows of Isaac's offering up more than Isaac did. But Divine love triumphed. It made the supreme sacrifice, and that in order that sin, error and death might be annihilated and righteousness, truth and life might forever prevail. Thus His delight in good principles and persons, His sympathy with the prospective Elect and pity for the world, enabled Him to offer the costliest sacrifice of all time and beings.
This is love's general sacrifice; but within its ample folds are various features of disinterested love. In offering His Son in sacrifice, not only love for the world actuated Him, but also love for that Son wrought mightily in Him unto His successfully giving up that Son. He saw in the circumstances of the case the possibility of exalting His Son in character, nature and office. He saw that the Son's co-operating with Him heartily in the sacrifice would develop in the Son a character even finer and stronger than the character He already had, and this desire of working in His Son such an improved character was delightsome to Him in His love of advancing good principles. We are not to think that there was anything imperfect in the Son's prehuman character and in His human character; for there was no blemish of any kind in these. But the
character of the prehuman Logos, though perfect for the nature that He then had, was not of so high a quality as the Divine nature needs; much less was His perfect human character of so high a quality as is fitted for the Divine nature. But God saw that through the sufferings that His Son would undergo He could be developed into a character fitted for the highest created possibilities of the Divine nature; and His great love for His Son, desiring such a nobler character for Him, was willing to sacrifice Him that it might be attained. Moreover, knowing that such exaltation in character and nature would fit Him for higher uses than His prehuman nature could attain—the office of executing all God's future purposes as His vicegerental Son throughout the Universe, God in love for that Son was willing to endure the hardships incidental to the preparation of the Son for such an exalted career. This was love indeed, from which a loving parent might well shrink back, but to which God was able to measure up. Yea, the love that God exercised when He gave His Son to be made perfect in character for the Divine nature and office of Jehovah's vicegerent, was love of the highest quality, of the greatest sublimity and of the most worthy kind.
There is still another feature of love that was in God's heart, prompting Him to give His Son unto degradation, disgrace, pain and death, i.e., for the Elect, who through that death were to be most highly benefited. For, knowing that through our Lord's carnation and death He could lift up the four faith classes to much higher grades and qualities of character than that to which the world could be elevated in their Millennial experience with righteousness, God in His disinterested love gave up His Son to carnation and death to secure these blessed results for the four faith classes, who constitute the four elect classes—the Little Flock, the Ancient Worthies, the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies. Thus disinterested love, delighting to
advance good principles, sacrificed the Son in order to develop these four classes in character fitting them for spiritual existence—the Little Flock in the Divine nature as having the highest form of character among these four classes, and the other three classes in some spiritual nature lower than the Divine—perhaps in the nature that the Logos had before, and left at the time of His carnation. The Son, willingly submitting to His Father's sacrificing Him in such disinterested love, co-operated with the Father's love to secure the glorious ends in view as to the four elect classes.
Foregoing we have shown how in relation to the world, to His only begotten Son and to the four elect classes, God's love acted and manifested itself in giving up His Son in carnation and in death. We now will trace the activity of God's love to the Gospel-Age Elect and to the world.
God's love in its delight to do good to the world has been using up some of the human all of His Gospel-Age children in their measurably correcting the world as to its sin and their measurably instructing it as to righteousness, as well as in witnessing to it of the coming kingdom—the judgment to come—all of which has been intended to curb sin, spread righteousness and prepare the world for their place in the Millennium. But such activity on the part of Divine love has been sacrificial, for it means that God has been giving up to pain, weariness, sorrow, persecution and death, His well beloved children in order to do the world the good that giving them refutations as to sin, and instructions as to righteousness and the coming kingdom, has done and will do them. God loves His children, if not with the same degree, yet with the same kind of love as that which He gave His Son Jesus while the latter was in the flesh (John 17: 23, 26). As Jehovah felt with His Son Jesus while the latter was being sacrificed, so He feels with His many other sons as they have been sacrificed to give the world the Scripturally marked reproofs
as to sin and instructions as to righteousness and witness as to the judgment to come. Yet His love was willing and able to bear this out of His desire to give the world the benefit of such reproof, instruction and witness. Additionally was God's love active in giving up these sons to a sacrificial death amid much weariness, pain, disgrace, persecution and death, often of a martyr kind, in co-suffering with Jesus that the blessing of restitution might be offered the world in the Millennium. When we realize "the great love wherewith He loved us," we can come to something of a realization of how strong must be the Divine love for the world in order to endure the hardships incidental to sacrificing His many spirit—begotten sons for them. Surely God's love for the world, as manifest from the two above standpoints, is great and good. It is surely disinterested—unselfish—love, like that manifested in giving His only begotten Son for the world.
Further, His disinterested love acts toward the Church during the Gospel Age; for He is giving up those whom He specially loves to sufferings in order to perfect them in character, nature and office. Not only the consideration that their sufferings will bless the world, now measurably and in the Millennium very greatly, moves His love to bear the hardship of sacrificing them for the world, but the consideration that their sufferings will perfect them, if faithful, in a Divine character. Such a character is high, noble and good, and therefore the most desirable thing to have. And so greatly does God in disinterested love prize such characters that He is in disinterested love willing and able to do all the work and to bear all the hardships incidental to their sufferings, whereby such characters are developed and perfected in them. His love perseveres further in this course, because He sees that He can raise those faithful amid such sufferings to the Divine nature and offices, whereby they will be able
with the greatest efficiency and faithfulness to spread the reign of good principles, and thus lift up and bless others. Thus His disinterested love shines out in His sacrificing the Little Flock.
But some whom He is giving up to suffering on behalf of the world fail faithfully to co-operate in those sufferings. These do not attain the heights of character, nature and office given to the Little Flock of more than overcomers. But if they, under the Lord's corrective teachings and providences, wash their robes from their spots and then cooperate with the Lord in faithful service unto death amid sufferings, they will be enabled to develop characters fit for a spiritual nature and office subordinate to the Little Flock's. These also God loves; and He also loves so much the good to which they may attain that He has been willing to endure the hardships incidental to their cleansing and sufferings that they may attain the intended good. Thus disinterested love is active in God's dealings with the Great Company. The same love of God acts toward the Youthful Worthies, who, though not now children of God, like the Little Flock and the Great Company, are now friends and servants of God. Later—in the Millennium—they, with the Ancient Worthies, will become sons of God. They, like the latter, belong to the faith-elect-classes, and as such their loyalty to God greatly delights Him. But His delight—the appreciation of disinterested love—in them does not keep Him back from letting them suffer pain, sorrow, persecution and death, in the course of their advancing truth and righteousness in and about them. On the contrary, to develop in them an overcoming character fitting them for perfect human nature and earthly princeship throughout the Millennium, both for the good they now will do and get and the good they in the Millennium will do and get from such sufferings, His love, to gain these good results, endures the hardship of seeing them suffer incidentally to His obtaining
these good results. Thus Divine love acts toward the Youthful Worthies now, because of the good results for them and the world unto God's honor now and later. Thus we see that God's love delights to advance all the elect classes despite the incidental sufferings, in order to make truth and righteousness prevail in them and through them towards others. We will not get a right focus on the Divine love in its Gospel-Age activities unless we view it as the love-testing activity of giving up His beloved Elect for their own development and for the blessing of the world.
There is still another sphere in which Divine love acts towards the Elect—their faults. God's disinterested love is pained whenever these fail to do good, or whenever they do evil. This is so because disinterested love delights in good. Hence it must be pained at evil. Yet His love, despite its pain, does not give them up. Intent on their reformation it works faithfully, sympathetically and sacrificially to rescue them. It is His love that instructs them as to the evil character of these wrongs of omission and commission. It is His love that stripes them for their cleansing (1 John 1: 9), whenever they show any willfulness. His love in some cases even withdraws His smile of favor, i.e., if there is much willfulness in them. It nevertheless follows them in its delight to reform and reinstate them into His favor. How freely His love forgives them when they are repentant! How He manifests in many ways His delight when He wins them back to the right way! What a great love this is on His part so faithfully and patiently to seek them for truth and righteousness! Yea, how great is that love that for nearly 19 centuries has labored for their reformation and character perfection.
Midway between the lost world and the elect is another class to whom God has shown much love in this Age, i.e., the faith justified. We do not here refer to those of the faith justified who proceed to consecration,
but to those who do not so do. While the real purpose of the Gospel-Age faith justification has been to prepare responsive persons for consecration and election, yet many—yea, the vast majority—fail to use it for these purposes. Nevertheless, God's disinterested love has acted toward these. Yea, even before their justification it acted toward them individually; for it pitied them in their lost, undone and alienated condition to such a degree as to use some of the humanity of His sons and servants to preach repentance to them, and by the Word aroused them to hate and forsake sin and to love and practice righteousness. Of course such an action on God's part was one of disinterested love. Furthermore, on their exercising repentance He aroused some of His sons and servants to help them further by the Word to accept Jesus as their Savior, and through faith in His merit to come into justification and consequent peace with God. In this action we recognize His love acting. So, too, has He been using the humanity of His sons and servants to help these to more knowledge of His Truth, to further cleansing from filthiness of the flesh and spirit and to greater practice of righteousness. Surely such activities of His have been expressions of disinterested love. To do this unweariedly for many centuries is a still greater manifestation of love, and to continue doing it, despite the backsliding of many and the half-hearted responsiveness of others, in the interests of truth and righteousness is a high expression of His love. O, how great has been the love of God in the Gospel Age!
Even in the great tribulation which began with the World War, which will proceed with the World Revolution, and which will end with the World Anarchy and Jacob's Trouble, all accompanied with famines and pestilences, we can see Divine love active, though of course Divine power and justice chiefly act therein. Nevertheless there is love in the wrath—the love that can use wrath for reformatory purposes when nothing