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The Love of and for Christ
Rev. W.C. Lamain (1904-1984)
This time I wish to say something about the love to Christ which becomes manifest in those to whom the life of grace has been imparted.
Salvation has the Most High God for its ultimate end. See Psalm 68:20, “He that is our God is the God of salvation.” Christ forms the central point of the entire revelation of God. In eternity God the Father appointed Him as such, in the Council of Peace. In time He was the substance of the promise. All the prophets testified of Him. Also in the fullness of time, He was the central point; then God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law. In the time of love He becomes such in the hearts of His saints. The Holy Spirit regenerates the elect sinner; He convinces him of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, but also glorifies Christ.
The Spirit of judgment and of burning makes room for that Mediator, seeing there is no room for Him while we are in our natural state. “What shall I do with Jesus?” This was the embarrassing cry of Pilate, and, by nature, it is no different with us. If we have never become acquainted with our original and actual guilt out of the law of God or have never come into contact with the curse of the divine law nor the sentence of condemnation which has been passed upon us, how will our hearts ever be drawn to the Mediator of the covenant? If we have never become Adam in the sight of God, we have no need for Christ.
Oh, it is so necessary to become acquainted in our own personal life with the unimpeachable justice and holiness of God and with our absolute inability to satisfy that divine justice. Otherwise, how shall the question ever arise in our heart, “Is there no way by which we may escape that well-deserved punishment and be again received into favor?”
In Matthew 16, Peter was privileged to testify so gloriously of the Christ, but how had he attained that knowledge? “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven,” was the answer of Christ. By ourselves or by virtue of our education we did not come to this knowledge. Often I have pointed out to you that no one is so hidden and concealed as Christ.
Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. Christ is revealed to lost sinners. Oh, what a blessed moment it is when God reveals His Son in us and when we become united to Him by faith. That revelation creates a void in our heart; it causes our needs to be felt but also brings love with it. The convinced and discovered sinner begins to feel the absolute need for that blessed Person. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” Without Christ they cannot stand before God. Without Christ there is no forgiveness of their iniquities. Without Christ there is no reinstatement into the favor and fellowship with God. Without Christ they cannot approach God nor find access to God.
He is our peace. By Him the saints are reconciled and united to God. He is their wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and complete redemption. He is all in all. “God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” “The love of Christ,” declares Paul in Ephesians 3:19, “passeth knowledge.”
If we are not a stranger to that love, there is also found within us a deep regard for Christ. If a person loves someone in natural life, then he regards, values, and prizes him/her highly. It is the same here. Jesus occupies the highest place in the heart. He is valued higher than everything else on earth. Such a soul declares with Asaph, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.” He is that Pearl of great price, for which all is sold in order to obtain it. Seeking souls will sacrifice everything for it.
Because of that love, they also have an insatiable desire after fellowship with Christ. When you love someone, you seek all possible ways and means to meet that person and enjoy his/her company. Oh, how often you greatly desire to be in the presence of the one you love. It is in the same way that the quickened soul eagerly longs for the presence of Christ. There is nothing on this earth that can satisfy his heart. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God” (Psalm 42:1). “My soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee” (Psalm 63:1b). “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth” (Psalm 84:2a). It was an inexpressibly great delight to the disciples to be with Christ every day. It was most grievous when they had to miss Him. Oh, what tears were then shed. Christ had foretold it in Matthew 9:15.
The true disciples of Christ have experienced that grief, also Mary Magdalene and the two disciples from Emmaus. Great was their sorrow when they had to do without Christ’s bodily presence. Thoroughly dejected, they sat down, yet they were not inactive. How they employed the means to find Him, and that is the continual soul experience of all that love Jesus. Day and night their heart yearns for His presence, and when Christ reveals Himself unto them and stirs them up, then there is a solemn feast in their life. Then, they too, are “set a-going”; then it is the desire of the spouse that Christ accompany her; it is, “Come, my Beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages” (Song of Solomon 7:11).
When the soul may taste that actual communion, it is satisfied, for then the soul is in its element; “It is good for me to draw near to God” (Psalm 73:28). With Peter, they are content to remain on the mountain (Matthew 17). When Jacob, after a separation of so many years, is embraced by Joseph, he longs but to die; then all the desires are fulfilled. However ... Jacob had to live seventeen more years and had to serve the will of God.
Those who love Jesus in sincerity desire to be conformed to His image, to follow in His footsteps, and to be in all things like unto Him, to walk as He walked. Souls that love Jesus love also them that have an interest in Him, be it ever so small. Paul speaks of “them that love His appearing.” They are a companion of all them that fear Him. Whenever they observe something of that foundation that is outside of the creature or perceive something of that precious image, then their hearts go out after it and they feel themselves one with those who fear Jesus.
If we love a person, we shall avoid all that might cause a separation; we will do all we can to please him or her. Those who love the Lord are fearful of displeasing Christ. How ardently desirous are they to obey His commandments and to have grace whereby they may serve God acceptably with reverence and with godly fear, with a willing mind. That question of Joseph, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” is also in their hearts. Such souls also take the part of God in regard to His name, His honor, and His attributes. They cannot endure it when Christ is affronted, when His Deity is assailed, or His finished mediation is despised.
Those who love Jesus in sincerity desire to be conformed to His image, to follow in His footsteps, and to be in all things like unto Him, to walk as He walked. Souls that love Jesus love also them that have an interest in Him, be it ever so small.
Whenever love is in action and predominates, it is revealed like a lion where the honor of God is concerned, but it is revealed as a lamb when it concerns personal honor. This is true provided grace is triumphant; however, frequently matters are different in practice.
He who loves Jesus in sincerity speaks gladly and often of Him. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A ministration in which the sovereignty of God is exalted and Christ is presented as the only foundation of salvation—such a ministration is their life. It is the joy of their heart when Christ, in His Person and in His finished mediation, is preached to the people as necessary, indispensable, suitable, and precious. The more they hear of Him the more the hearts are stirred up to testify of Him. They are pleased to meet with those who speak highly of Jesus. Such are their companions.
Again, when the love of Jesus is sincere, then they love Him not only in prosperity but also in adversity, even in grievous tribulations. Job testified, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”
It is a love “strong as death, and cruel as the grave ... many waters cannot quench it.” The Lord Jesus Himself takes care that it will never fail. It is He who kindles that love in their heart and their life, or there would be no love. It all flows from Him and that, even that, causes them to fall down at His feet in adoration.
The more they receive of this love in their heart, the more and stronger they love Him in return. Out of infinite love Christ gave Himself; out of infinite love He entered into death for His people; out of infinite love He makes a dwelling place for Himself in their heart. What a wonder this is! There never has been one of Adam’s sons or daughters who of his own accord inquired after a Surety. Scripture declares this so clearly and explicitly, but inwardly it is also learned and realized that Christ has died for His people while they were yet sinners.
Unfathomable, infinite, inconceivable, and unsearchable love! It is a love which causes those whose heart is being filled with it to say, “Lord Jesus, O that I could love Thee perfectly. There is nothing that I can give Thee, but it is my heart’s desire to give Thee everything.”
Now, do we know something of that love? If so, then we are not strangers of the love that is of God. Friends, examine your heart before Him who searches the heart and tries the reins.
Love is the chiefest virtue of Christendom; it is, as it were, the soul of all other virtues (1 Corinthians 13:13). Though a man have all gifts and have not love, he is nothing and has nothing. Love is the fulfilling of the law.
The brevity of life—the lamp of life—is almost burnt down; the glass of time is almost run out. Only a very few days and nights more, and then time, nights, and days shall be no more.
— John Flavel
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