1 Peter 1:6-9
Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations:…
I. THE NATURE AND GROUNDS OF LOVE TO CHRIST. Love to Christ is not to be confounded with the raptures of a visionary enthusiasm. Its foundation must not be laid in those ideal representations of His person and character which a luxuriant fancy is apt to picture. It signifies simply that sincere esteem of His person and character, which is founded on what is revealed respecting Him in the records of inspiration.
1. Love to the Redeemer is the first movement of the soul when illumined to discern the perfect excellencies of His Divine character. Is perfect holiness the proper object of delight and love? Are truth and faithfulness, combined with mercy and grace, the proper objects of moral approbation and delight? In Him "mercy and truth have met together." He is justly entitled to our supreme regard, whose nature is infinitely excellent, and whose perfections are boundless.
2. But the believer will not confine himself to the contemplation of his Lord in the attributes of His Divine character; he will consider Him in His human nature also, and, as such, the proper object of enlightened attachment. As a man He exhibited an example of perfect conformity to the whole will of God.
3. The mediatorial character of Jesus justly entitles Him to our especial affection. From what Christ hath done, we learn what He is; and the glories of His character shine with peculiar lustre through the veil of His mediation, suffering, and death. And can we contemplate so much love without feeling some corresponding emotion of love in return?
II. CHRIST, THOUGH UNSEEN, IS THE OBJECT OF A CHRISTIAN'S LOVE.
1. Although Christ was never seen by us, yet we have been favoured with the most full and satisfactory information regarding Him. He is brought near to our view in the prophecies of the Old Testament, and in the varied writings of the New.
2. Jesus, though we never saw Him, is ascertained to be unquestionably our best friend and nearest relation. He is our instructor to point the way; our high priest to redeem and intercede for us; our Captain and King to bring many sons and daughters to glory.
3. He hath given us the most stupendous evidences of His disinterested love.
4. This kind friend hath sent us many kind messages of love, and hath actually left us a legacy to perpetuate His remembrance.
5. Though not personally present with us, He hath given us, as His representative, His Holy Spirit to abide with us forever, to enlighten our understandings, to purify our hearts from the power of corruption, to raise our affections to things spiritual and heavenly, to check in us the power of sin, and to guide us amid the snares and temptations of our pilgrimage through the world.
6. Though we see not Christ now, we are assured that if we love Him truly we shall see Him afterwards.
III. THE MANNER IN WHICH LOVE TO CHRIST WILL PRACTICALLY EXPRESS ITSELF.
1. Love to Christ will lead us to cultivate a more intimate acquaintance with Him.
2. Love to Christ will lead us frequently to think and to speak of Him.
3. Love to Christ will lead us to seek intercourse with Him in all His ordinances.
4. If we love Christ, we will love His people and cause.
5. Finally, "If ye love Me," says Jesus, "keep My commandments." This is the most substantial test of the sincerity of our love.
(R. Burns, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: