Today's "thought" has to do with God's love for His own. I send it to you with the firm conviction that our comfort, peace, rest of soul and growth in Christ hinges upon on our grasping by faith the assurance that His love for us is unchanging and unchangeable.
This thought comes to you from Charles Haddon Spurgeon (purported to be the greatest preacher that ever lived) from an old book in my library - "Spurgeon's Gems" - dated circa 1860. Other than slightly updating some of the language, it comes to you as he preached it to his congregation, from his London pulpit, around that time. Enjoy!
"Beloved, can you conceive how much Christ will love you when you are in heaven? Have you ever tried to fathom that bottomless sea of affection in which you shall swim, when you shall bathe yourself in the seas of heavenly rest? Did you ever think of the love which Christ will manifest to you, when He shall present you without spot, or blemish, or any such thing, before His Father's throne?
Well, pause and remember that He loves you at this very hour as much as He will love you then; for He will be the same forever as He is today, and He is the same today as He will be forever.
This one thing I know: If Jesus' heart is set on me, He will not love me one atom better when [I am in heaven] than He does now, amidst all my sin and care and woe. I believe that saying which is written -- "As the Father has loved Me, even so I have loved you;" and a higher degree of love we cannot imagine. The Father loves His Son infinitely, and even so today, believer, the Son of God loves you... He cannot love you more, He will not love you less."
J. I. Packer says essentially the same thing in his book "Knowing God": "God receives and loves us with the same stadfast affection with which he eternally loves his only-begotten. There are no distinctions of affection in the divine family. We are all loved just as fully as Jesus is loved. It is like a fairy story - the reigning monarch adopts waifs and strays to make princes of them. But, praise God, it is not a fairy story: it is hard and solid fact, founded on the bedrock of free and sovereign grace.
When we think of God's love as being conditioned upon our performance, we will struggle to even conceive how He could ever love us. For we know so well the sin that pollutes our motives and thoughts and affections and actions. Such self-knowledge causes us to flounder in our faith, become anxious and afraid and even entertain thoughts of throwing in the towel. If His love is conditioned on us, or how well we do, what's the use of even trying?
Yet when we realize (in accordance with the Gospel) that God's love was set upon us before we had done anything good or bad (Rom. 9) and that it was irrevocably secured for us by Christ and not left to rest upon our fickle and ever-changing performance (Rom. 8:28-39), it fills the heart with joy and the soul with a peace that passes understanding.
The focus of our faith is never us - what we are, do or have done - but Jesus and what He did on our behalf. Only in that, and that alone, can one ever truly have rest for their soul.
In the Bonds of Gospel Hope, Pastor Jeff
Dr. Jeffrey F. Evans