Love, The Tie Of Maturity

by Wesley J. Ladwig

Published by The ROUNDTABLE of the Scriptures
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EDITOR: Wesley J. Ladwig
Editorial - July 1943

“Now over all these is love, which
is the tie of maturity.” Col. 3:14, C.V.

I am sure that that there are few Christians, indeed, who have learned this great truth. In fact, it is still buried under the creedal dunghills since the apostle Paul was called to rest. The proof of this lies in the many sects and divisions of those who claim to be saints and the strife and disputations among and within these same groups. So far in my experience I have found no exceptions to this rule. Why should this be? It can be answered very briefly and accurately in few words: knowledge rather than love has become the bond that binds all Christian groups together and this is true also of those cliques within groups. Doctrine has become and still is the chief basis of Christian fellowship. This shows that Christendom has not yet passed the stage of childhood or immaturity in Christ, 1 Cor. 3:1. The maturity of Ephesians and Colossians hasn’t yet been achieved; in fact, is yet hardly known.

I am not opposed to knowledge but I do sincerely believe that our knowledge has been directed along the wrong line. We have made knowledge our god not only to be sought after but held up as the chief objective of a Christian’s goal, the center and focal point of our adoration.

How far this is from the purpose and objective of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians! Here the apostle says:

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith: that ye, being ROOTED and GROUNDED in LOVE, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth (transcends) knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fullness of God (better: to be completed for the entire complement of God),” Eph. 3:17-19.

We are to be rooted and grounded in love so that we might comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, length, depth and height of what love means; and to know the love of Christ so that we can become completed. How well this harmonizes with what Paul tells us in Colossians that love is the tie or bond of completeness or maturity.

One group particularly stresses the fact that we must know the breadth, length, depth and height of God’s plan but the apostle is not talking about a plan but love. When we know what love means and when we realize the great love of God and of Christ, we are complete or have reached maturity. When we ourselves become complete in the knowledge of the love of God and Christ, we become a worthy complement of God. Until we do we are not full grown sons but children and children are irresponsible and cannot be trusted with things that belong to adults. All doctrine and all knowledge should be held in love.

One can hardly be a worthy complement of God who hasn’t fathomed the love of God and His Christ. Anyone who hates his fellow saint hasn’t learnt love and one who teaches that God is an eternal tormentor doesn’t know the love of God nor the purpose of His Christ. How can those who hold doctrine as the rallying point of the church comprehend the purpose of love! Isn’t it easy to see that all such would fail to love their brethren much less their enemies and to do good (not evil) to all men as they have opportunity, Gal. 6:10? How can such Christians extend the right hand of fellowship to all who call upon the name of the Lord out of a pure heart, 2 Tim. 2:22? They cannot, because not being grown up in love, they make divisions based on doctrines.

In our last editorial we quoted Paul’s explanation and inspired definition of love, 1 Cor. 13:1-7. Here we have the rule for babes in Christ laid down. But in Ephesians we come to not only the fruitage of that love which becomes mature but also a knowledge of the love of God and Christ which transcends knowledge. If we know such a love, we will bring all our knowledge and doctrines in harmony with the boundless love of our heavenly Father and recognize no other bond or tie than our own love.

W. J. L.

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