What Manner of Love
Jesus wept at the tomb of His friend Lazarus. The Jewish people
who saw Him responded to one another, "Behold, how He loved him" (John
C. H. Spurgeon said to his congregation in London, "Most of us
here, I trust, are not mere onlookers, but we have a share in the special love of Jesus.
We see evidences of that love, not in the tears, but in the precious blood that He so
freely shed for us. . . . Behold how He loves us!"
Have you ever asked yourself where or when He first loved you? With
fullness of heart we can say, "See, how He loves me!" Is the beginning of that
great love when we first believed? Could it have begun when He died for us? As we reflect
back on our lives and His love for us there is no time when He did not love us.
When we ponder the beginning of His love for us, it takes us beyond
our creation into past eternity.
In eternity past Jesus so identified Himself with us and covenanted
to redeem us.
From past eternity Jesus looked down the distant future in His divine
perspective and saw the disastrous ruin of sin in our lives and chose to do something
about it. In past eternity Jesus Christ took up our cause and pledged to be the guarantee
of God's eternal covenant. Jesus knew that sinful man could never fulfill the demands of
the covenant with the LORD God. Therefore, Jesus pledged to fulfill man's part of the
covenant. He did so on our behalf long before we were able to have any part of it.
Jesus pledged to die for us by giving His life as a ransom for our
sins. It was a unilateral covenant through His own blood for it is sealed "through
the blood of the eternal covenant" (Heb. 13:20).
It was not bilateral because He did it in past eternity by Himself
without our asking. It is eternal, and because it is by His grace it is undeserved. Jesus
knew that we could never remedy our sin problem so He stepped in, and out of His love and
mercy did it for us.
In that great act of love He united Himself with us so that His life
became our life, His death became our death, His burial became our burial and His
resurrection became our resurrection. What love!
Where did Jesus do that? When He first loved us. Behold, what manner
of love He has for you and me! Even before we were born, even before creation, even before
the Fall, even before we sinned, His great love was settled for us. Behold, how He loves
"When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of
a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law,
that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth
the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba, Father'" (Gal. 4:4-6).
Again, we can only exclaim, "See what manner of love He has for
us!" We can never lose that adoption. It is guaranteed in eternity, purchased by the
blood of the Son of God at Calvary, and sealed by the Holy Spirit the moment we believed
on Christ as our Redeemer.
What our Redeemer planned in eternity past before the foundation of
the world, He accomplished in time, and it is guaranteed by His resurrection for all
eternity. Cf. Romans 8:37-39; John 15:13; 3:16; Galatians 4:4-6.
Although our salvation was planned in eternity, and Christ fulfilled
that eternal covenant in His own blood at Calvary, it is not automatic.
Jesus calls us personally and persistently until we respond to
"the sweet compulsion of His grace."
Have you responded in sweet surrender to His abounding love and
grace? Do you have eyes only for Jesus? Or is the Holy Spirit still pursuing you and
pleading with you to put your faith in Jesus Christ?
"Behold how He loves us," but as Spurgeon asked, has anyone
ever said to you, "Behold how he or she loves Jesus"? Can your friends say of
you and me, "See what manner of love he or she has for Jesus"? "Behold how
they love Jesus." Has anyone ever said to you, "Why do you love Him so?"
Why do you love and serve Jesus Christ?
And when they do ask you, what will you say to them?
"Behold, what manner of love . . . ."
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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