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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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The True Essential

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Israel never presented so much as a single note of praise until the whole congregation stood, in the full power of an accomplished redemption, on Canaan’s side of the Red Sea. Exactly so it is now. The believer must know where the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ have forever set him, ere he can be an intelligent worshiper, an accepted servant, or an effective witness.


For the believer there is now no guilt, no curse, no wrath, and no condemnation. Yet, he must be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ; but even there the question of sin is not raised. The Cross of the Lord Jesus has settled that forever; so that it is written of those that believe, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb 10:17).


The believer’s whole course must indeed be manifested before the Bema; but the Judge Himself has put away all the believer’s sins, and is their righteousness, so that the reward-seat cannot but be friendly to them. The Lord Jesus surely will not condemn His own work. The righteousness that was required, God Himself has provided. He surely will not find any flaw therein. The light of the judgment seat will be bright enough to disperse every mist and cloud which might tend to obscure the matchless glories and eternal virtues which belong to the Cross, and to show that the believer is “clean everywhere” (Jhn 13:10; Eph 5:27).


It is because these foundation truths are not laid hold of in the simplicity of faith, that many of the Father’s children complain of their lack of settled peace—the constant variation in their spiritual condition—the continual ups and downs (which can be changed to only up-and-ups—NC) in their experience. Every doubt in the heart of a believer is a dishonor done (though unknowingly and non-intended—NC) to the Word and the work of the Cross. It is because he does not, even now, bask in the light which shine from the Cross, that he is ever afflicted with a doubt or a fear.


Yet, those things which so many have to deplore—those vacillations and the wavering—are but trifling consequences, comparatively, inasmuch as they merely affect their experience (but not their place in Christ—NC). The effect produced upon their worship, their service and their testimony is far more serious where the Lord’s honor is concerned (again, though committed in ignorance—NC).


But, alas, this latter is but little thought of, generally speaking, simply because the personal salvation (after imparted—NC) is the grand object—the aim and end—with the majority of Christians. We are prone to look upon everything that affects ourselves as essential; whereas, all that affects the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in and by us is counted non-essential.


Then too, the believer proves himself false to the Lord Jesus to the same degree that he has fellowship with the world. We are dead to the world (even in attempting worldly fellowship there is an “enmity” – Gen 3:15 - maintaining separation—NC) and alive to and in the Lord Jesus in glory. We are at once partakers of His rejection by earth and His acceptance in heaven; and the joy of the latter makes us count as nothing the trials connected with the former. To be cast out of the world without knowing that we have a place and a portion now in heaven, would be intolerable; but when the glories in the presence of my Father fill my vision, even a little of the world goes a long way (e.g. significant negative affect—NC)!


- C H Mackintosh



Excerpt from MJS devotional for March 1:


“When we reflect on the innumerable ‘things’ about us—forces seen and unseen of the mineral, vegetable, and animal worlds; on man at enmity with God; on Satan, and his principalities and powers, in deadly array; on the uncertainty and even treachery of those near and dear to us, and even of professing Christians, and of our own selves—which we cannot trust for a moment; upon our unredeemed bodies; upon our general complete helplessness in ourselves—then, to have God say, ‘All things are working together for your good,’—reveals to us a Divine providence that is absolutely limitless.” -W.R.N.




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