Anyone who does not love does not know God.1 John 4:8
The distinguishing mark of a Christian is his confidence in Christ's love for him and in the offering of his love to Christ. First, faith sets her seal upon the man by enabling the soul to say with the apostle, "Christ loved me and gave himself for me."1 Then love gives the countersign and stamps upon the heart gratitude and love to Jesus in return. "We love because he first loved us."2
In those grand old ages, which are the heroic period of the Christian religion, this double mark was clearly seen in all believers in Jesus; they were men who knew the love of Christ and rested upon it as a man leans upon a staff whose trustiness he has proved. The love that they felt toward the Lord was not a quiet emotion that they hid within themselves in the secret place of their souls and that they only spoke about in private or when they met on the first day of the week and sang hymns in honor of Christ Jesus the crucified; it was a passion with them of such a vehement and all-consuming energy that it was visible in all their actions, evident in their conversation, and seen in their eyes, even in their casual glances. Love for Jesus was a flame that fed upon the core and heart of their being and therefore by its own force burned its way into their demeanor and shone there. Zeal for the glory of King Jesus was the seal and mark of all genuine Christians.
Because of their dependence upon Christ's love they dared much, and because of their love for Christ they did much, and it is the same now. The children of God are ruled in their inmost powers by love. The love of Christ constrains them; they rejoice that divine love is set upon them, they feel it shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given to them, and then by force of gratitude they love the Savior with a pure and fervent heart.
My reader, do you love Him? Before you sleep, give an honest answer to this weighty question!
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.