Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Loving the Unseen Christ (1 Pet. 1:8-9)

A first comment that can be made about their attitude of love for Jesus is that it expresses obedience to the first commandment which tells us to love God with all our heart, mind and strength. So this kind of love reveals that the lover understands that Jesus is fully divine. Only God can be the object of such love. There are other levels of love found within Christians, such as marital love or family love, but they are not corporate expressions of love. In contrast this love is a shared love, which means its object can only be Someone who is precious to them all. And the one who fills such a position has to be divine. All these Christians to whom Peter wrote loved Jesus, just as all Christians love Jesus.

What else can be said about the love Christians have for Jesus? One aspect of their love is that it is clean. This does not mean that they are free from wrong motives, but when they have them they are not the outcome of love to Jesus. In fact, love to Jesus is the purest activity in which a sinner can engage. When such love is present, Christians have the right motives; when it is absent, as was the case with the church in Ephesus (Rev 2:1-8), then even good actions, such as getting rid of false teachers, are sinful activities. Such clean love to Jesus also results in clean love to his people. What I say about or do to another Christian tells me what my love for Jesus is like.

A further aspect of their love for Jesus is that it is comprehensive. Love to him extends to all areas of life. A husband who truly loves his wife never forgets this relationship wherever he is. If he does forget it, he does not love her. It is the same with a healthy spiritual state of soul. What will stop a Christian sinning? Conscience might raise her voice, but it can be ignored. But when love to Jesus is present, such a believer will respond appropriately. The biggest danger to a Christian occurs when love to something else replaces love to Jesus (even when that something else is a good matter). Look what happened to faithful and loving Barnabas when he put love to his relative above love to Christ! His role in the church was damaged, although graciously restored later. We can extend the effects of love to Jesus into every area of one’s life (as Paul does in 1 Corinthians 13).

Another feature of their love for Jesus is that it is clinging – they can never stop gripping him. Often the first sign that two persons are in love is the hold they have of one another. The same is true in a spiritual sense – a spiritually-healthy Christian will cling to Christ. They will not only do so in times of danger and difficulty, but also in times of comfort and enjoyment. We can imagine a husband or wife seeing a beautiful sight. Often their thought is, ‘I wish my husband/wife could see this.’ A Christian clings to Christ all the time: he may be praying for help, or he may be reading the promises of the Bible, he may be in the company of Christian friends, he may be driving his car along the road. Wherever, he likes to talk to Jesus and say, in one way or another, that he is clinging to Jesus. We cling to him in our homes, in our work; we cling to him in every stage of life, and we will cling to him when we come to the end of the journey when all others can do nothing for us.

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