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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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NetChaplain

Perfect Reconciliation

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“Now once in the end of the world He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb 9:26). The Lord Jesus came the first time to bear our sin; when He comes the second time, He will have nothing to do with sin—He comes to “receive” us “unto” Himself (Jhn 14:3). We now stand between His first coming, in which He wrought redemption on the Cross and gave Himself to put away sin; and His second coming, when in virtue of that finished work, He comes to receive believers to Himself, and the Holy Spirit is come down meanwhile to give me the full sense of what He did the first time, and the bright and blessed hope (Grk. ‘elpis’; assured expectation—NC) of what He will do the second time.

 

We have nothing between, except of course the operations of the Holy Spirit, for His work is going on, most blessed in its place, to lead us on to “grow up into” the Lord Jesus “in all things” (Eph 4:15); but, as regards the work of the Savior, He sits in the presence of the Father because all is done. “Ye are complete in Him.” There is no progress (needs nothing additional—NC) in the value of His finished work, nor in His shed Blood, nor in the righteousness of the Father which we are in Him.

 

The first thing, then, is redemption—a work which delivers us from the place we were in, and brings us into the new position that the Lord Jesus is in before the Father as man (first spiritual man—NC). The Father takes away sins, and gives us His Son besides. As for the glories of the Lord Jesus that are to come—all things created by Him and for Him—we read that He is going to reconcile the whole state and order of things in heaven and earth; but you “hath He reconciled.” The believer does not wait until then. I am perfectly reconciled to my Father.

 

There I was a stranger and an enemy, away from Him; and here I am, my sins entirely gone, and my heart by this wondrous revelation of love, brought home to delight in my Father. I am reconciled; and a great and blessed thing it is. If I am reconciled to a person with whom I have been at enmity, well then, there is nothing more between us; if there is anything, then I am not reconciled. If you have an after-thought, a misgiving, “After all I do not know whether it is all right,” then you are not reconciled, the heart is not free (free in truth but not in mind due to misunderstanding—NC).

 

But we do get perfect liberty with the Father through the precious Blood of the Lamb, and the power and presence of the Spirit giving us the consciousness of it in our souls (Rom 8:16). “You hath He reconciled” (Col 1:21). He makes this difference between us and the reconciling of things around us, which things will not be until the new heaven and earth. It is my Father’s estimate of His Son’s shed Blood that is the measure of my acceptance with Himself; it gives me peace and a perfect conscience. I am in my Father’s presence in unbounded confidence and love. This is the place of the believer—the heart reconciled in blessed peace and righteousness, resting in the consciousness of this perfect grace towards us (which “rest” is permanent if you’re truly reborn, even if you have yet to understand this to be so—NC).

 

Are you at perfect liberty with your Father? Poor unworthy creatures we certainly are in ourselves (and in the light I see more just how worthless I am); but my Father spared not His own Son. There is no doubt or cloud as to that which He is for our souls, because it has been perfectly revealed to us in the Word of God, as it has been accomplished and proved in the Lord Jesus Himself on the Cross.

 

F G Patterson

 

 

Excerpt from MJS devotional for July 27:

“I think we are sometimes ready to say to the Lord—Could you not have taught me without subjecting me to so much sorrow and humiliation’? The answer I have had is, You could not be effectually taught any other way. The Lord knows the nature of the obstacle in me which He has to overcome: a less efficient hand might think that it could be dealt with in some other way.

 

“A weakness be it bodily or otherwise, is sometimes allowed to continue in order that there may be dependence, and when there is dependence, the weakness becomes a gain; the grit—the trying thing—is superseded by a pearl of great price.” -J.B.S.

http://www.abideabove.com/hungry-heart/

 

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