1 Corinthians 16:22
If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.
There are those who, not having known Christ, have had no opportunity of loving him. But of all who have heard and read of Christ, we may say that the one test of their character and their position lies in their feeling with regard to him, with all which that feeling involves. The apostle's warm heart could tolerate no indifference, no neutrality, here. The Lord Jesus must be not only respected, but loved. And not to love him proves that the nature is insensible to all that is good and Divine - involves its own condemnation and curse and misery.
I. THE ABSENCE OF LOVE TO CHRIST. Where there is no love to the Lord Jesus there appears to be:
1. A want of appreciation of his perfect moral character. If Jesus be known by a holy and sympathetic nature, he will appear to such a nature "the chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely." Who can gaze upon the sinless and pure, the just and kind, the meek and patient Jesus, and be unaffected by the spectacle? Only those for whom moral excellence and beauty have no charms.
2. A deep sensibility to his infinite compassion. For it must be borne in mind that the Saviour's disposition and ministry, and especially his sacrifice, have a personal relation to ourselves. It was for us men and our salvation that he lived a life of poverty and contempt, that he deigned to die a death of agony and shame. To withhold the heart's best love from One who endured the cross for us argues a callousness of nature beneath the level of common humanity.
3. A base ingratitude for all he has done and is doing on our behalf. Even those who are indifferent to the Lord Jesus owe him a vast debt for the benefits which, by his mediation, he has conferred upon the human race, and for the forbearance with which they have individually been treated. If ingratitude to earthly friends and benefactors be base, how shall the heinousness be described of ingratitude to the Son of man?
II. THE CURSE AND CONDEMNATION INVOLVED IN INDIFFERENCE TOWARDS CHRIST.
1. We can trace this in the moral degradation which such insensibility occasions. Not to love the worthiest and the best is to debase our nature. Character is largely moulded by love; and they who turn away from the love of Immanuel choose death.
2. The condemnation of conscience is inevitable. Its voice may be stifled for a season, but it will be heard, and that voice must needs utter a censure of no feeble or ambiguous kind. The judge is within, and cannot be escaped; that judge will charge the sinner with hating him who was and is supremely worthy to be loved, and the accusation is self evidencing and brings its curse.
3. The judgment of the Lord may tarry, but it will surely come. The Lord himself is at hand, to deliver those who love him, but to execute a righteous sentence upon the unbelieving, the unloving, the unspiritual. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.