Tag Archives: Love of Christ

“Do not take up your time so much with studying your own heart as with studying Christ’s heart” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“March 20, 1840

MY DEAR FRIEND,

I do not even know your name, but I think I know something of the state of your soul. Your friend has been with me, and told me a little of your mind; and I write a few lines just to bid you look to Jesus and live.

Look at Num. 21:9, and you will see your disease and your remedy. You have been bitten by the great serpent. The poison of sin is through and through your whole heart, but Christ has been lifted up on the cross that you may look and live.

Now, do not look so long and so harassingly at your own heart and feelings. What will you find there but the bite of the serpent? You were shapen in iniquity, and the whole of your natural life has been spent in sin.

The more God opens your eyes, the more you will feel that you are lost in yourself. This is your disease.

Now for the remedy. Look to Christ; for the glorious Son of God so loved lost souls, that He took on Him a body and died for us—bore our curse, and obeyed the law in our place. Look to Him and live.

You need no preparation, you need no endeavours, you need no duties, you need no strivings, you only need to look and live. Look at John 17:3. The way to be saved is to know God’s heart and the heart of Jesus.

To be awakened, you need to know your own heart. Look in at your own heart, if you wish to know your lost condition. See the pollution that is there—forgetfulness of God, deadness, insensibility to his love. If you are judged as you are in yourself, you will be lost.

To be saved, you need to know the heart of God and of Christ. The four Gospels are a narrative of the heart of Christ. They show his compassion to sinners, and his glorious work in their stead. If you only knew that heart as it is, you would lay your weary head with John on his bosom.

Do not take up your time so much with studying your own heart as with studying Christ’s heart. For one look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ!

Look at Rom. 15:13. That is my prayer for you. You are looking for peace in striving, or peace in duties, or peace in reforming your mind; but ah! look at His word. ‘The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.

All your peace is to be found in believing God’s word about His Son. If for a moment you forget your own case altogether, and meditate on the glorious way of salvation by Christ for us, does your bosom never glow with a ray of peace?

Keep that peace; it is joy in believing. Look as straight to Christ as you sometimes do at the rising or setting sun. Look direct to Christ.

You fear that your convictions of sin have not been deep enough. This is no reason for keeping away from Christ. You will never get a truly broken heart till you are really in Christ.—See Ezek. 36:25–31.

Observe the order: First, God sprinkles clean water on the soul. This represents our being washed in the blood of Christ. Then He gives ‘a new heart also.’ Thirdly, He gives a piercing remembrance of past sins. Now, may the Lord give you all these!

May you be brought as you are to the blood of the Lamb! Washed and justified, may He change your heart—give you a tender heart, and his Holy Spirit within your heart; and thus may He give you a broken heart for your past sins.

Look at Rom. 5:19. By the sin of Adam, many were made sinners. We had no hand in Adam’s sin, and yet the guilt of it comes upon us. We did not put out our hand to the apple, and yet the sin and misery have been laid at our door.

In the same way, ‘by the obedience of Christ, many are made righteous.’ Christ is the glorious One who stood for many. His perfect garment is sufficient to cover you.

You had no hand in His obedience. You were not alive when He came into the world and lived and died; and yet, in the perfect obedience, you may stand before God righteous. This is all my covering in the sight of a holy God.

I feel infinitely ungodly in myself: in God’s eye, like a serpent or a toad; and yet, when I stand in Christ alone, I feel that God sees no sin in me, and loves me freely.

The same righteousness is free to you. It will be as white and clean on your soul as on mine. Oh, do not sleep another night without it! Only consent to stand in Christ, not in your poor self.

I must not weary you. One word more. Look at Rev. 22:17. Sweet, sweet words! ‘Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.’

The last invitation in the Bible, and the freest,—Christ’s parting word to a world of sinners! Any one that pleases may take this glorious way of salvation.

Can you refuse it? I am sure you cannot.

Dear friend, be persuaded by a fellow-worm not to put off another moment. Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.

You are sitting, like Hagar, within reach of the well. May the Lord open your eyes, and show you all that is in Christ!

I pray for you, that you may spiritually see Jesus and be glad—that you may go to Him and find rest.

Farewell.

—Yours in the Lord,

Robert Murray M’Cheyne”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Ed. Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1844/1966), 278-280.

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“Let us adore Him for His love” by John Newton

“Blessed be God! Amidst all my changes I find the foundation stands sure. And I am seldom or never left to doubt either of the Lord’s love to me, or the reality of the desires He has given me towards Himself.

Though when I measure my love by the degree of its exercise, or the fruits it produceth, I have reason to sit down ashamed as the chief of sinners and the least of all saints. But in Him I have righteousness and peace, and in Him I must and will rejoice.

I would willingly fill up my sheet, but feel a straitness in my spirit, and know not what further to say.

O for a ray of Divine light to set me at liberty, that I might write a few lines worth reading, something that might warm my heart and comfort yours!

Then the subject must be Jesus. But of Him what can I say that you do not know? Well, though you know Him, you are glad to hear of Him again and again.

Come then, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.

Let us adore Him for His love, that love which has a height, and depth, and length, and breadth, beyond the grasp of our poor conceptions;

a love that moved Him to empty Himself, to take on Him the form of a servant, and to be obedient unto death, even the death of the cross;

a love that pitied us in our lost estate, that found us when we sought Him not, that spoke peace to our souls in the day of our distress;

a love that bears with all our present weakness, mistakes, backslidings, and shortcomings;

a love that is always watchful, always ready to guide, to comfort, and to heal;

a love that will not be wearied, cannot be conquered, and is incapable of changes;

a love that will, in the end, prevail over all opposition, will perfect that which concerns us, and will not leave us till it has brought us perfect in holiness and happiness, to rejoice in His presence in glory.

The love of Christ: it is the wonder, the joy, the song of angels. And the sense of it shed abroad in our hearts makes life pleasant and death welcome.

Alas! What a heart have I that I love Him no better! But I hope He has given me a desire to make Him my all in all, and to account everything loss and dross that dares to stand in competition with Him.”

–John Newton, The Works of John Newton, Vol. 2, Ed. Richard Cecil (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 2: 179-181.

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“The sighs, groans, and mournings of poor souls” by John Owen

“There is more glory under the eye of God, in the sighs, groans, and mournings of poor souls filled with the love of Christ, after the enjoyment of Him according to His promises— in their fervent prayers for His manifestation of Himself unto them— in the refreshments and unspeakable joys which they have in His gracious visits and embraces of His love— than in the thrones and diadems of all the monarchs on the earth.”

–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, The Glory of Christ, Vol. 1, Ed. William H. Goold (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1850), 159.

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“Like a good shepherd” by J.C. Ryle

“Like a good shepherd, Christ knows all His believing people. Their names, their families, their dwelling-places, their circumstances, their private history, their experience, their trials,—with all these things Jesus is perfectly acquainted.

There is not a thing about the least and lowest of them with which He is not familiar. The children of this world may not know Christians, and may count their lives folly; but the Good Shepherd knows them thoroughly, and, wonderful to say, though He knows them, does not despise them.

Like a Good Shepherd, Christ cares tenderly for all His believing people. He provides for all their wants in the wilderness of this world, and leads them by the right way to a city of habitation.

He bears patiently with their many weaknesses and infirmities, and does not cast them off because they are wayward, erring, sick, footsore, or lame.

He guards and protects them against all their enemies, as Jacob did the flock of Laban; and of those that the Father has given Him He will be found at last to have lost none.

Like a Good Shepherd, Christ lays down His life for the sheep. He did it once for all, when He was crucified for them. When He saw that nothing could deliver them from hell and the devil, but His blood, He willingly made His soul an offering for their sins.

The merit of that death He is now presenting before the Father’s throne. The sheep are saved for evermore, because the Good Shepherd died for them. This is indeed a love that passeth knowledge!

‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'” (John 15:13)

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1878), 2:189–190. Ryle is commenting on John 10:10-18.

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“Tenderness of heart” by Richard Sibbes

“Tenderness of heart is wrought by an apprehension of tenderness and love in Christ. A soft heart is made soft by the blood of Christ.

Many say, that an adamant cannot be melted with fire, but by blood. I cannot tell whether this be true or no; but I am sure nothing will melt the hard heart of man but the blood of Christ, the passion of our blessed Saviour.

When a man considers of the love that God hath shewed him in sending of His Son, and doing such great things as He hath done, in giving of Christ to satisfy His justice, in setting us free from hell, Satan and death: the consideration of this, with the persuasion that we have interest in the same, melts the heart, and makes it become tender.

And this must needs be so, because that with the preaching of the gospel unto broken-hearted sinners cast down, there always goes the Spirit of God, which works an application of the gospel.

Christ is the first gift to the Church. When God hath given Christ, then comes the Spirit, and works in the heart a gracious acceptance of mercy offered.

The Spirit works an assurance of the love and mercy of God. Now love and mercy felt, work upon the tender heart a reflective love to God again.

What, hath the great God of heaven and earth sent Christ into the world for me?

Humbled Himself to the death of the cross for me?

And hath He let angels alone, and left many thousands in the world, to choose me?

And hath He sent His ministers to reveal unto me this assurance of the love and mercy of God?

This consideration cannot but work love to God again. For love is a kind of fire which melts the heart.

So that when our souls are persuaded that God loves us from everlasting, then we reflect our love to Him again. And then our heart says to God, ‘Speak, Lord; what wilt Thou have me to do?’

The soul is pliable for doing, for suffering, for anything God will have it. Then, ‘Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth,’ 1 Sam. 3:9.

And when the heart is thus wrought upon, and made tender by the Spirit, then afterward in the proceeding of our lives, many things will work tenderness: as the works of God, His judgments, the word and sacraments, when they are made effectual by the Spirit of God, work tenderness.

The promises of God also make the heart tender, as Rom. 12:1, ‘I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, offer up your souls and bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God.’

There is no such like argument to persuade men to tenderness of heart, as to propound the love and mercy of God.”

–Richard Sibbes, “Josiah’s Reformation,” in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes (ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart; vol. 7; Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson, 1863), 6: 33-34.

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“Greater love than this cannot be shown” by J.C. Ryle

Christ’s love is an active, working love. Just as the shepherd did not sit still bewailing his lost sheep, and the woman did not sit still bewailing her lost money, so our blessed Lord did not sit still in heaven pitying sinners.

He left the glory which He had with the Father, and humbled Himself to be made in the likeness of man. He came down into the world to seek and save that which was lost.

He never rested till He had made atonement for our transgressions, brought in everlasting righteousness, provided eternal redemption, and opened a door of life to all who are willing to be saved.

Christ’s love is a self-denying love. The shepherd brought his lost sheep home on his own shoulders rather than leave it in the wilderness.

The woman lighted a candle, and swept the house, and searched diligently, and spared no pains, till she found her lost money.

And just so did Christ not spare Himself, when he undertook to save sinners. ‘He endured the cross, despising the shame.’ He ‘laid down His life for His friends.’ Greater love than this cannot be shown. (John 15:13. Heb. 12:2.)

Christ’s love is a deep and mighty love. Just as the shepherd rejoiced to find his sheep, and the woman to find her money, so does the Lord Jesus rejoice to save sinners. It is a real pleasure to Him to pluck them as brands from the burning.

It was His ‘meat and drink,’ when upon earth, to finish the work which He came to do. He felt straitened in spirit till it was accomplished. It is still His delight to show mercy. He is far more willing to save sinners than sinners are to be saved.

Let us strive to know something of this love of Christ. It is a love that truly passeth knowledge. It is unspeakable and unsearchable. It is that on which we must wholly rest our souls, if we would have peace in time and glory in eternity.

If we take comfort in our own love to Christ, we are building on a sandy foundation. But if we lean on Christ’s love to us, we are on a rock.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke, Vol. 2 (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1879), 175-76. Ryle is commenting on Luke 15:1-10.

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“We can never plumb its depths” by Peter T. O’Brien

“To speak of Christ’s love as ‘surpassing knowledge’ means that it is so great that one can never know it fully. We can never plumb its depths or comprehend its magnitude. No matter how much we know of the love of Christ, how fully we enter into His love for us, there is always more to know and experience.

And the implication, in the light of the following words, is that we cannot be as spiritually mature as we should be unless we are empowered by God to grasp the limitless dimensions of the love of Christ.”

–Peter T. O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians, PNTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 264.

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