Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Do You Truly Love Jesus?

In his short, yet quite potent book “The True Christian’s Love to the Unseen Christ” Thomas Vincent asks the eternally vital question “How may we know whether we have true love to Jesus Christ?” As an answer to this question Vincent suggests four ways in which we prove the truth of our love to Jesus:

1) By your desires after Christ’s presence
2) By your prizing and frequenting those ways wherein Christ is found, and seeking Him therein
3) By your love of Christ’s image
4) By your obedience to Christ’s commandments

Much could be said about all four of these proofs of our love for Christ (as Vincent himself does), but one particular section stood out to me as being deserving of particular and immediate attention--3) By your love of Christ’s image. In this section the wise-hearted Puritan states that the medium wherein we primarily view the image of God is His Word. It seems apparent, then, that the other three proofs hang on this proof, as we neither learn about the promise and nature of Christ’s promise but by this Word, nor can we obey His commands unless we know them, which comes by reading His Word. And certainly the major way “wherein Christ is found, and seeking Him therein” that is to be prized and frequented is God’s Word.

Yet what is so large in God’s Word that it truly magnetizes our affections, pulling us with an irresistible and massive gravity? Is it not Christ, from beginning to end? Vincent says it in his own, well articulated and thorough Words:

“Do you love the image of Christ on His Word? As Caesar’s coin bore Caesar’s image and superscription, so the Word of the Scriptures, which is the Word of Christ, bears Christ’s image and superscription.

Do you love the Scriptures because of Christ’s image which is upon them?

Do you love the Word of doctrine in the Scriptures because of the image of Christ’s truth and wisdom upon it?

Do you love the Word of precepts in the Scriptures because of the image of Christ’s holiness upon it?

Do you love the Word of threatenings in the Scriptures because of the image of Christ’s righteousness upon it?

Do you love the Word of promises in the Scriptures because of the image of Christ’s goodness, grace, and love upon it?

You have Christ’s Words in your Bibles, and sometimes sounding in your ears, but does the Word of Christ dwell in your hearts? You receive Christ’s word in the light of it; do you receive His Word in the love of it?”

The image and presence of Christ is made manifest to our souls when we are born again (John 14:21), and from then on our souls see Him “face to face” as Moses did (Deut. 34:10) in some measure. At the same time it is by the Word of God that we come to see many of the infinite facets and the diverse excellencies of the one our souls have come to rest in. We know that we really love Jesus because the same Spirit that causes us to love His (Jesus’s) presence within us is the same Spirit that breathed out the Scriptures. The Spirit that first moved men to write is, in fact, Jesus Himself (Romans 8:9) and so we MUST love His Word as much as His presence.

The Word should cause us to love Jesus in us more, and Jesus in us should cause us to love His Word more till we are caught up in this endless cycle of love for our savior Jesus.