THE GOLDEN RULE
--MATTHEW 7:1-12.--FEBRUARY 20.--
Golden Text:--"Therefore, all things whatsoever ye
would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,
for this is the Law and the Prophets."
"NEVER man spake like this man." Perhaps the nearest teaching to this Golden Rule was the maxim attributed to Confucius, "Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you." This latter is a grand teaching, but it is far inferior to the former, which is sublime. Christians are not to be negative, but positive. They are not merely to follow the standards of others, but to set standards; they are to raise up the Lord's standard before the people. It is not for the followers of Jesus to say, "We will endeavor to keep within the bonds of human law," but rather, "We will live according to the Divine Law, so far as possible. We will esteem that human law represents the standard of the majority of fallen men and not the Divine standard."
Our Savior tells us that we will be tested along the line of our love for God and for our neighbor. God through the merit of Christ's sacrifice has provided forgiveness for our past sins, and now purposes that as his children we shall be taught the lesson of mercy, kindness, forgiveness toward others. Hence he tells us that only in proportion as we exercise benevolence towards others need we expect his benevolence in respect to our weaknesses and shortcomings. The principle of justice is involved in this. Whoever is kind and forgiving towards others demonstrates the possession of love in a ruling, dominating degree. And "Love is the fulfilling of the Law." Hence these may be treated as though they were perfect, because their conduct towards others gives evidence that their hearts are right--ruled by love; and that the imperfections which cause their trespasses are merely weaknesses of the flesh, which may be forgiven, because not of the heart.
From this viewpoint how should Christians judge one another as respects motive, intention, etc.? Surely most leniently! How should they measure one another's endeavors? Surely most generously! How should they look upon the blemish in a brother? Would not their sympathy cause his defects to seem the smaller in their estimation? And would not their own imperfections show the more largely to themselves? Surely such would be more concerned in removing the beam from their own eyes than in assisting the brother to free himself of the mote or lesser blemish troubling him. Hence we may suppose that the continual fault-finder, who sees great blemishes in others and who sees none in himself, is blind to his own defects or hypocritical. This is the Master's word.
We are, nevertheless, to discriminate. Not all are brethren in Christ, begotten of the holy Spirit. Of the remainder some are more, and some less, brutish. Hence in our dealings with various classes of people (v. 6), we should avoid presenting the holiest and most precious things of our religion to those who are in no condition to appreciate or understand them. They would doubtless [R4568 : page 74] resent them and do us injury. On the contrary, we are to be wise as serpents in the presentation of the Truth and harmless as doves. We are to make known the riches of God's grace to those who have the hearing ear.
All the consecrated followers of Jesus are to be free to come in his name to the Throne of grace to make request for the things which they need--the things promised in the Word of God to the faithful. We are to seek for them and we shall find them. Knocking, we shall have Divine blessings unlocked before us.
Consider how this principle prevails, even amongst fallen humanity. Any father asked for a fish, would he give instead a serpent? If asked for bread, would he give a stone? Surely not! And if so, what shall we say in respect to our Heavenly Father? Would he not be all the more willing to give to his children who ask him? He has indeed given us many blessings without the asking, but some of the chiefest of his favors he withholds from us until we make requests--because thus he would draw us nearer to himself and prepare us the more for the blessings he is willing to bestow.
Elsewhere the Master tells us that the good thing which the Father is specially pleased to bestow is his holy Spirit. This is the all-important thing, for only as we become possessors thereof, only as we attain to the mind, the disposition of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, shall we be fit for a place in the glorious Millennial Kingdom to which we have been invited. His holy Spirit is manifested in us by meekness, gentleness, patience, long suffering, brotherly kindness--love.
The Golden Text of our study is (v. 12), "All things, therefore, whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them; for this is the Law and the prophets." The whole demand of the Law of God is briefly summed up in this Golden Rule. Yet the Christian has an additional requirement--the Lord's "New Commandment." To attain joint-heirship with the Redeemer in his Kingdom we must "love one another" as our Redeemer loved us--to the degree of self-sacrifice, even unto death. "We ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren."--I John 3:16.
We would be glad, indeed, if all of our readers would resolve to follow the Golden Rule in all of life's affairs; but we could not hope to have them do so, because we cannot hope that they are all fully consecrated to God. Nothing short of full devotion to the Lord and instructions in the School of Christ will enable a man or a woman to live consistently along the lines of this Golden Rule. Only by the assisting grace of the Great Teacher can this rule obtain, even in the consecrated heart. We urge, therefore, that the consecrated shall follow this rule, and the "New Commandment," and that others should make consecration.