An Introduction to the CCC Blog Series:
Christians love Christ with a pure, unrivaled love. Healthy churches love Jesus with steel love. That is what Paul says, right? “Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible” (Eph 6.24). Now as this grace is that given by God to be with all believers, the take away is that all believers love Christ with love incorruptible. Really, we do! By His grace, ultimately, our love for Christ reigns and will reign.
The Love You Had at First
And yet little is more felt in the Christian life than the fight to endure in that sort of love for Christ from day to day. In fact, by the time John writes Revelation, Jesus, Himself, addresses the church at Ephesus, warning them, “I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first” (Rev 2.4-5). In other words, our love for Christ is, on the one hand chief and stable and, on the other, chiefly and practically challenged. How we practice this incorruptible love for Jesus when, from day to day, it is vehemently challenged is the topic of this series of posts. While encouraging one another in the fact that the new birth has given rise to a love for Christ that is truly incorruptible for every child of God, we want to acknowledge and seek biblical remedies for the correspondent reality that love, due to our fragility, waxes and wanes.
The 1996 film, Michael, starring John Travolta, follows the story of a vacationing and unorthodox [biblically speaking, demonic] angel, Michael. He is marked by his crassness, crudeness, and an irresistible cookie aroma. And he is a fighter. At various instances, when the opportunity presents itself, you hear him cry, “Challenge!” and then proceed to go to battle.
This is the refrain of Satan, sin, death, and the world to the love of Christ. Having received a love that constrains us, there is much that seeks to restrain it. The real, personal being, Satan, challenges our love for Christ. Temptation to sin presents itself like the waves of the sea, billow after billow. The fear of death tempers the love of Christ that has often led believers to die for His sake and that of the gospel. The world cries out like sellers in the marketplace trying to draw our attention away from the main prize, “See, what lovely busyness to be about, what riches, what possessions, what necessity!” And that is to say nothing of our own weakness, dreariness, slumber, sloth, our forgetfulness, fragility, and lack for want of true joy. Where one is unrivaled in loveliness, all else pales by comparison and, so, steams with jealousy. So challenge to the love of Christ comes from every arena of a fallen world. It is not without a great earnestness, then, that we consider how to guard and improve upon our love for Christ. And there is no more sure place to go for this than the Bible, the Word of God and of Christ.
An Armory and a Fountain
So we will be looking at and addressing the following verses and passages in hopes of providing you an armory against all challenge and a fountain out of which to draw immense encouragement to an incorruptible love for Christ:
2 Corinthians 5.14
1 Peter 1.3-9
1 John 4.7-21
But first up are a few verses from Ephesians. I’ll leave them here with you and we’ll address them, their indictment and remedy, next time. “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph 3.14-19).
May the Lord grant us the grace essential to grow in loving Jesus with love incorruptible. Nothing could be more critical or right.