Friday, December 21, 2007

"For Christ's love compels us..."

So, what 'drives' a Christian to know and understand God? According to Paul it is the love of Christ: "For Christ's love compels us" (2 Cor. 5:14).

In "The Discipline of Grace ~God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness", Jerry Bridges points out (emphasis mine),
"To live no longer for ourselves but for Him is the essence of discipleship...But what is it that will motivate us to live not for ourselves but for Him? Paul said it is the love of Christ...Notice though, what compelled or motivated Paul in such a strong manner. It was not a continual challenge to be more disciplined, or more committed, or more holy. Rather it was his constant heartfelt awareness of Christ's love for him...Rather his overwhelming sense of Christ's love for him that spurred him on.

We believers do need to be challenged to a life of committed discipleship, but that challenge needs to be based on the gospel, not on duty or guilt. Duty or guilt may motivate us for awhile, but only a sense of Christ's love for us will motivate us for a lifetime."
And, just how does one gain this 'sense of Christ's love for us'? Bridges goes on to say,

" then can we come to the place where we are acutely conscious of His love? The answer is, through the gospel. It is of course, the Holy Spirit who pours out His love into our hearts (Romans 5:5), but He does this through the message of the gospel..."

I'm afraid that many misunderstand and think it is OUR love for Christ that motivates us, but we forget that "We love, because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19). As my favorite hymn puts it, "I find, I walk, I love; but O, the whole of love is but my answer Lord to Thee! For Thou wert long beforehand with my soul; Always, always Thou lovedst me."

May you seek and gain a greater understanding of His love for you--only then will you respond in a manner pleasing to God.


seyi said...

God bless you

Seun said...

I am listening to a sermon preached by Spurgeon on election and holiness and even though your piece is on the essential exclusivity of Christ's love towards us, it ties perfectly with the contention of Spurgeon concerning our election by grace. Every good and perfect gift, James says, proceeds from the Father of light. James 1:17. Thank you very much for this well reasoned and insightful piece.