Christus meus est Omnia
â€œGrace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.â€
– Ephesians 6:24
How do you know that you love the Lord Jesus Christ â€œin sincerityâ€? What are the genuine characteristics of a soul that loves Jesus in sincerity?
* Sincere Love is Gospel Love: This sincere love for Christ is focused on His Person and His gracious excellencies as He is revealed in the Gospel. Sincere love for Christ is a â€œGospel loveâ€. It is a love driven to seek union and communion with Him because of the wonderful grace that He has bestowed on you (1 Jo. 4:7, 16, 19).
* Sincere Love is Love that Surpasses Knowledge: This sincere love for Christ is more than a rational, mere notional love. We must have knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ from the Holy Scriptures, but we must have more than a rational love. Our love should be described as â€œsurpassing knowledgeâ€ (Eph. 3:17-19); a love that is felt easier than expressed sometimes.
* Sincere Love is Delighted by God: This sincere love for Christ delights in Him. When the believing soul, having taken a view by faith of the excellencies of God, and its own sweet relation to Him as a gracious Father in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is carried forth in a holy rapture and exultancy of spirit; it is â€œravishedâ€. Sincere love wants to delight in and praise God; it is â€œjoy inexpressible and full of gloryâ€ (1 Pet. 1:8).
* Sincere Love Says â€œChristus meus est omnia: My Christ is My All!â€: This sincere love for Christ accounts Christ to be the soulâ€™s greatest treasure. There is a longing desire to enjoy the nearest communion with Him. The soul that loves Christ will love other things, but will describe nothing else but Christ as â€œAltogether Lovelyâ€ (Song of Solomon 5:10, 16). The soul that loves Christ will say as its motto: â€œDeus meus est omnia!â€ â€œMy God is my all!â€ Their confession will be â€œWhom have I in heaven but You, and what on earth do I desire but You?â€ (Psa. 73:25). The love-sick soul often says: â€œNone but Christ.â€ The worthy and noble love values not Christ merely for what He brings, as by what He is in Himself.
* Sincere Love Meditates Upon Christ: This sincere love for Christ desires to be often meditating and contemplating about Him; it is a soul â€œsmittenâ€ by Him. â€œThe soul dwells as much where it has fixed its love, nay, more there, than where it has its most natural operation.â€ True love will find Christ enthroned in heaven but will be frequently sending up their hearts to Him.
* Sincere Love is Wholly Devoted : This sincere love for Christ is willing to part with all for Him; it is a soul wholly devoted and undivided. This love makes one willing to lay down oneâ€™s life for Him (Matt. 10:37ff; Rev. 12:11).
* Sincere Love Serves: This sincere love for Christ will be a willingness to stoop to the lowliest service for Christ to be honored. This love stoops with Christ to serve and wash filthy feet (John 13:5-14).
This sincere Gospel love for Christ manifests the following characteristics particularly:
*Â â€œI was lost, but now Iâ€™m foundâ€”and redeemed!â€Â Where love of Christ is sincere, there has been a conviction of the soulâ€™s undone condition without him, and of the sufficiency, ability and willingness of Christ to recover the soul out of that sinful condition (Isa. 61:1-3; Matt. 11:28-30). If there is no conviction of our sinful condition, there can be no love; if there is no contrition of heart for sin, there can be no affection in the soul for Christ (1 Jo. 1:7-2:2; 1 Pet. 1:5-8).
Behold, the love of Jesus Christ for sinners in His ability and willingness to relieve sinners from condemnation and guilt, and to reconcile us to the Father! Glory, Hallelujah!! (Rom. 5:1-11). It is brokenness of heart (Isa. 66:2b), and a sense of approaching ruin, that gives the soul the first occasion of acquainting oneself with Christâ€™s goodness and grace (Matt. 9:12; Acts 9:5-6). This love grows by the work of the Holy Spirit as we continue to understand the depths of what God in Christ has done for us, until we are able to say: â€œI am sick with love for Himâ€ (Song of Solomon 2:5, 5:4, 10). Ask yourself: â€œHave I ever found myself lost and undone; Not able to bear up against the terrors of an accusing and condemning conscience? And then known under this conviction to put my whole trust and faith in the Lord Jesus?â€
*Â â€œI cry â€˜Abba, Fatherâ€™!â€ Where love of Christ is sincere, there has been an experiential impression, taste, and feeling of the Fatherâ€™s love to the soul in Him; there is some sweet assurance of the Fatherâ€™s love as it is revealed in Jesus (Rom. 8:15; Rom. 5:5). There has been a realization that the only reason why you have closed with Christ and have become one of His disciples is because of the Fatherâ€™s love to you, drawing you, and enabling you to come to Christ (John 6:44; 14:6, 9; 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 John 4:19). Do you know that you have been reconciled to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16-18), and has declared you righteous in Christ, and has adopted you as His dear child? Have you felt these bonds of divine love that have been thrown upon you? Do you see God to be your ultimate happiness?
*Â â€œI love Jesus the God-Man!â€ Where love of Christ is sincere, our affections are drawn to Jesus not merely as a historical person who has been historically made known to us, but according to His true character as God and Man in one Person, as one filled with the Spirit of God above measure, as one who laid aside His Divine splendor and majesty to be an obedient servant unto death, raised from the dead and enthroned at Godâ€™s right hand (John 1:14; 3:36; 8:58; Phil. 2:5-8; Acts 2:29-34).
These four graces will be evident in our lives if we know Jesus in this way:
*Â A humble and reverent admiration of Jesus Christ: We will have an admiring love for Him. Though we admire Him, we do not fully comprehend Him (Song of Solomon 5:16; Eph. 3:17). We admire and love Him as God and man (John 1:1,14; 1 Tim. 3:16). As we meditate on His glorious Person, our souls will have a holy rapture of admiration and this admiration will always be increasing.
*Â Sweet and refreshing delight in Jesus Christ: It is a delighting, rejoicing love (Song of Songs 2:3). Aquinas said: â€œLove is the rest and satisfaction of the soul in the object loved.â€ The nature of love lies much in delight (1 Pet. 1:8; Psa. 37:4). If you love Jesus Christ, you will be delighted with Him!
*Â Deep gratitude and thankfulness: It is a grateful and thankful love begotten in the soul because of the sense of Christâ€™s unspeakable goodness and condescension toward sinners. Meditating upon this often helps maintain gratitude and increase it for the glory of God. Christ voluntarily undertook our salvation and redemption, even though we were Godâ€™s enemies (Rom. 5:8). He took our human nature upon Himself permanently (Heb. 2:16). Christ was unwearied in His diligence, and invincible patience in fulfilling the law of God that He had willingly submitted Himself unto. Although the terror of the Lord was against Him in Gethsemane and on Golgotha, He went quietly and submissively like a lamb to the slaughter for sinners (Isa. 53:7). Christ was willing to communicate to sinners the benefits purchased for us, bidding us to do nothing but to turn to God in repentance and believe in Him (Matt. 11:30; Rom. 10:8-10). Thinking upon His great work for you, will you not now empty your heart into the bosom of the Lord with love and thankfulness for who He is and what He has done for you?!
*Â Supporting hope and confidence: It is a hoping and condiment love; it is not a languishing affection, but that which brings life into the soul from the fullness of that Christ it feeds upon by faith (John 1:16; Col. 2:9; 1 Jo. 4:18). â€œWho shall separate us from the love of Christ?! â€¦We are more than conquerors in Him who has loved us!â€ (Rom. 8:35-39). Love gives confidence and boldness of access to Christ, and unto God the Father by Him at the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16). This hopeful and confident love will manifest itself in enduring and persevering to the end.
To be continued. Part 2: â€œHow may that love for Jesus be kindled and enflamed? How may it grow and increase in my life?
In Christâ€™s love,