Evening, June 5, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“The one who does not love does not know God.” — 1 John 4:8
The distinguishing mark of a Christian is his confidence in the love of Christ, and the yielding of his affection to Christ in return. First, faith sets her seal upon the man by enabling the soul to say with the apostle, “Christ loved me and gave himself for me.” Then love gives the countersign, and stamps gratitude and love to Jesus upon the heart in return. “We love him because he first loved us.” In the early church age, which is the heroic period of the Christian religion, this double mark was clearly to be seen in all believers in Jesus; they were men who knew the love of Christ, and rested upon it as a man leans upon a staff whose reliability he has tested. The love which they felt towards the Lord was not a quiet emotion which they hid within themselves in the secret chamber of their souls. It was not love only spoken of in their private assemblies when they met on the first day of the week, and when they sang hymns in honor of Christ Jesus the crucified; it was a passion with them of such a vehement and all-consuming energy that it was visible in all their actions, spoken in their everyday talk, and looked out of their eyes even in their common glances. Love to Jesus was a flame which fed upon the core and heart of their being; and, therefore, from its own force it burned its way into the outer man and shone there. Zeal for the glory of King Jesus was the seal and mark of all genuine Christians. Because of their dependence upon Christ’s love they risked much, and because of their love to Christ they did much, and it is the same now. The children of God are ruled in their inmost dominions by love—the love of Christ controls them; they rejoice that divine love is set upon them, they feel it being shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit, which is given to them, and then by force of gratitude they love the Savior with a pure heart, passionately. My reader, do you love him? Before you sleep give an honest answer to a weighty question!