Paul concludes his letter by highlighting the importance of love in the Christian life. Such love expresses itself on different levels, but here is its highest plane. What are the ingredients of a sincere or incorruptible love for Jesus?
Sincere love to Jesus is a penitent love because we are sinners. As his people we fail him many times, yet his love does not change. This was Peter’s experience after his disastrous fall when he denied the Saviour. On the resurrection morning, the loving Saviour gave to Peter a special meeting, the details of which are unknown. But I am sure that Peter has never forgotten them. A few weeks later, Jesus enquired publicly of Peter if he still loved him (John 21). He did not want from Peter pledges of service, but a declaration of love.
Sincere love to Jesus is a humble love. Who are we that he, the Prince of Glory, should love us? A sincere lover of Jesus never loses sight of where he or she came from. We are unworthy of his love, therefore we should be humble.
Sincere love to Jesus is a grateful love. If the recognition of where we came from should keep us humble, the anticipation of what where we are going to should make us grateful. We are journeying to the better country along a road paved with the love of Christ. Let us love him with gratitude.
Sincere love to Jesus is an admiring love. The story is told of a general’s wife who had offended the emperor and was facing death for her crime. Her husband pled for her life and offered to die in her place. The emperor agreed to pardon her. When the husband and wife were together, he commented on the graciousness of the emperor. She replied that her eyes had been only on the man who was prepared to die for her. In a far higher sense, our love should be on the Man who was not only prepared to die for us, but did give his life as our ransom. Admire him. We live in a world which has no heroes. But we have a Hero. Admire his strengths, his commitment, his love.
Sincere love to Jesus is also a devoted love. Jesus said of the woman who anointed him with costly perfume that she loved much because she was forgiven much. We, too, have been forgiven much. Don’t give to Jesus the spare hours of your life. Give him your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength at all times.
Sincere love to Jesus loves him supremely. It cannot tolerate any rival. When they come tantalisingly towards him, the sincere lover bids them to go away. Rival suitors may not be sinful in themselves, but they become sinful if they take the place of Jesus. Christians often complain that their love to Jesus has grown colder; perhaps it is because their interests are somewhere else than on him. Give him first place in your affections.