I. There is a class of professed Christians who are the true friends of God and man.
If you attend to those things which develop the true design and aim, of their religion, you will see it to be such. They are truly and sincerely benevolent (Kind and Good-willing).
Continued from Part 3.
4. They show that they sympathize with God in His feelings towards man.
They have the same kind of friendship for souls that God feels. I do not mean that they feel in the same degree, but that they have the same kind of feelings. There is such a thing as loving the souls of men and hating their conduct too. There is such a thing as constitutional sympathy, which persons feel for those who are in distress. This is natural. You always feel this for a person in distress, unless you have some selfish reason for feeling malevolent. If you saw a murderer hung, you would feel compassion for him. The wicked have this natural sympathy for those that suffer.
There is another peculiar kind of sympathy which the real child of God feels and manifests towards sinners. It is a mingled feeling of abhorrence and compassion, of indignation against his sins, and pity for his person. It is possible to feel this deep abhorrence of sin mingled with deep compassion for souls capable of such endless happiness, and yet bound to eternal misery.
I will explain myself. There are two kinds of love. One is the love of benevolence. This has no respect to the character of the person loved, but merely views the individual as exposed to suffering and misery. This God feels towards all men. The other kind includes esteem or approbation of character. God feels this only towards the righteous. He never feels this love towards sinners. He infinitely abhors them. He has an infinitely strong exercise of compassion and abhorrence at the same time. Christians have the same feelings, only not in the same degree, but they have them at the same time. Probably they never feel right unless they have both these feelings in exercise at the same time. The Christian does not feel as God feels towards individuals, nor feel according to the true character of the individuals, unless both these feelings exist in his mind at the same time. You see this by one striking characteristic. The Christian will rebuke most pointedly and frequently those for whom he feels the deepest compassion. Did you never see this? Did you never see a parent yearning with compassion over a child, and reprove him with tears, and yet with a pungency that would make the little offender quail under his rebuke. Jesus Christ often manifested strongly these two emotions. He wept over Jerusalem, and yet he tells the reason, in a manner that shows his burning indignation against their conduct. “O Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee!”–Ah! what a full view he had of their wickedness, at the moment that he wept with compassion for the doom that hung over them. It is just so with this class of Christians. You never find one of them addressing a sinner so as merely to make him weep because somebody is weeping for him. But his most tender appeals are accompanied with strong rebuke for sin.
I wish you to remember this point, that the true friend of God and man never takes the sinner’s part, because he/she never acts through mere compassion. And at the same time, he/she is never seen to denounce the sinner, without at the same time manifesting compassion for his/her soul, and a strong desire to save him/her from death.
Which one are You?
God who acts as a Father, a Son (Jesus Christ) and a Spirit (Holy Spirit)
The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ
What does “In Christ” mean and why it’s important.
What is the true Church? Is your Church like this?
Are you and your fellow Christians Yoked with Christ.
Mike Hill’s Testimony showing evidence of what its like to be a true friend of God and man.
Also as my Podcast.