Have you ever noticed that the Apostle Paul never speaks of his love for Christ? Rather he keeps talking about Christ’s wonderful love to him. Neither does he exhort us to love Christ, but keeps telling us how Christ loved — and loves, us. This is consistent with the message specially committed to him: “The Gospel of the Grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
The Law said: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God” (Matt.22:37). This is the very essence of the law. And we should love God, but the law cannot produce love, so God comes to us in grace and say: “I love you“. This is why Paul’s epistles are so filled with “the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom.8:29).
The fact that God deals with us in grace does not mean that believers should not, or do not, love Him. The very opposite is true, for love begets love. It is when men come to know the love of Christ that their hearts respond to him in love.
Peter, like Paul, had once been a strict observer of the Law, but had since come to know the love of Christ in growing measure. The result: A deep love for Christ and the overflowing joy that accompanies such love. This is why we find in I Peter 1:8 those touching words that naturally overflow from the heart and lips of one who has come to know the love of Christ: “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory”.
Yes, knowing and loving Christ does indeed bring inexpressible joy, but we cannot love him by trying. We must accept His love for us in faith so that our hearts may naturally respond.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
“It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles.”
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you’ll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.