If a man does not love God as He is revealed to him in Jesus Christ, he neither cares to please Him nor to think about Him, nor does he order his life in obedience to His commands. And if it be true that obedience is the very life-breath of love, disobedience or non-obedience is the manifestation of antagonism, and antagonism towards God is the same thing as hate.
Dear friends, I want some of my hearers to-day who have never honestly asked themselves the question of what their relation to God is, to go down into the deep places of their hearts and test themselves by this simple inquiry: ‘Do I do anything to please Him? Do I try to serve Him? Is it a joy to me to be near Him? Is the thought of Him a delight, like a fountain in the desert or the cool shadow of a great rock in the blazing wilderness?
Do I turn to Him as my Home, my Friend, my All? If I do not, am I not deceiving myself by fancying that I stand neutral?’ There is no neutrality in a man’s relation to God. It is one thing or other. ‘Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.’ ‘The friendship of the world is enmity against God.’ And now, lastly, note how our Lord here touches the deep thought that this ignorance, which is sin, and is more properly named hatred, is utterly irrational and causeless.
‘All this will they do that it might be fulfilled which is written in their law, They hated Me without a cause.’ One hears sighing through these words the Master’s meek wonder that His love should be so met, and that the requital which He receives at men’s hands, for such an unexampled and lavish outpouring of it, should be such a carelessness, reposing upon a hidden basis of such a rooted alienation?
‘Without a cause’; yes! that suggests the deep thought that the most mysterious and irrational thing in men’s whole history and experience is the way in which they recompense God in Christ for what He has done for them. ‘Be astonished, O ye heavens! and wonder, O ye earth!’ said one of the old prophets; the mystery of mysteries, which can give no account of itself to satisfy reason, which has no apology, excuse, or vindication, is just that when God loves me I do not love Him back again; and that when Christ pours out the whole fullness of His heart upon me, my dull and obstinate heart gives back so little to Him who has given me so much.
‘Without a cause.’ Think of that Cross; think, as every poor creature on earth has a right to think, that he and she individually were in the mind and heart of the Saviour when He suffered and died, and then think of what we have brought Him for it. De we not stand ashamed at — if I might use so trivial a word, — the absurdity as well as at the criminality of our requital? Causeless love on the one side, occasioned by . nothing but itself, and causeless indifference on the other, occasioned by nothing but itself, are the two powers that meet in this mystery — men’s rejection of the infinite love of God.
My friend, come away from the unreasonable people, come away from the men who can give no account of their attitude. Come away from those who pay benefits by carelessness, and a Love that died by an indifference that will not cast an eye upon that miracle of mercy, and let His love kindle the answering flame in your hearts.
Then you will know God as only they who love Christ know Him, and in the sweetness of a mutual bond will lose the misery of self, and escape the deepening condemnation of those who see Christ on the Cross and do not care for the sight, nor learn by it to know the infinite tenderness and holiness of the Father that sent Him. (source)