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“So have I Loved You”
“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” (John 15:9)
I can think of nothing more miserable on this earth than living with the thought, with the firm persuasion, that no one loves you, or even cares about you. But I can think of nothing more joyful than the knowledge of Christ’s love for me. It is my soul’s delight to contemplate it. Think of it. — “The Son of God loved me, and gave himself for me!” Truly…
“I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus, the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean!”
“O love surpassing knowledge,
O grace so full and free!
I know that Jesus loves me
And that’s enough for me!
O wonderful salvation
From sin Christ set me free
I feel the sweet assurance
And that’s enough for me!
O blood of Christ so precious
Poured out at Calvary
I feel its cleansing power
And that’s enough for me!”
Meditate for a while on the great, immeasurable, incomprehensible love of Christ for our souls, as he declares it in John 15:9. — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” Here are deep green pastures, in which the Great Shepherd makes his sheep lie down, in which we find rest for our souls. Here are still waters beside which he graciously leads us to refresh our spirits. Here are paths of righteousness, in which our Lord graciously causes us to walk. Here is the table he prepares for us in the presence of our enemies. — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
What sweet rest I have found in this blessed assurance of his love. — “As the Father hath loved me,” the Son of God says to this poor sinner, “so have I loved you.”
The love of Christ is the great cause of our redemption and salvation. It is, as C. H. Spurgeon put it, “as the sun in the midst of the heavens of grace.” May God the Holy Spirit enable us to plunge into these deep waters, and drink, and drink, and drink, until our souls are satiated and overflowing. — “As the Father hath loved me so have I loved you.” I want to know, and I want you to know “the love of Christ that passeth knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19).
There is such depth and mystery in the love of Christ that it simply cannot be comprehended, much less explained. All we can do is taste it, experience it, believe it, and rejoice in it. Oh, that we may experience it more fully! Blessed Savior, bring us into your banqueting house; let us see the banner of your love and rejoice, as we drink from this blessed fountain. — “Thy love is better than wine!” Come, O Holy Spirit, come! Take the things of Christ and show them to us by your grace. Show us, now, our Savior’s love!
I want you to see and be assured of this one thing: — Every sinner who trusts Christ is loved by him, even as he is loved by God the Father! — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
The first thing I would say to you about the love of Christ is this: — “Believe it!” Oh, may God enable us to believe it. May he give us grace and faith to believe it unquestioningly. If we trust the Son of God as our Savior, we have every reason to believe that which he here declares to us. — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
He loves us personally, and loves us infinitely! Others like to talk about his love as a general, meaningless love of benevolence toward all men. But our Savior here speaks to his own, and says, — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” He here assures us of his peculiar, distinct, and distinguishing love for his own elect, to whom he says in verse 16, — “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.”
If we are in him, as the branches are in the vine, we are the objects of the Savior’s peculiar love. He speaks to us as his church, as his choice bride, and to each one personally, and says, — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.”
Does the Son of God speak thus to you? Are those words addressed to me? Have we taken hold of Christ by faith? Has he saved us by his grace? Do we draw life from him? Is he our hope, our joy, our all? If he is, these words are spoken to us. With his own lips, and here in his Word, our Savior takes us into his arms and whispers in our ears, as a man does the wife he adores, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.”
That he truly loves us, we may confidently believe. Though we might and do rightfully conclude that he loves us, when we begin to see what he has done for us, our Savior does not leave it as a matter to be inferred. No. He speaks the words. — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” Let me never doubt his words. They were spoken in the solemn night of his agony, and are recorded here in the Book of God.
As if to confirm his love to us and seal it to our hearts, that we may be absolutely assured of it and know something of its indescribable greatness, our Savior draws a parallel to his love. He does not say “I love you as a man love a woman.” He does not say “I love you as a mother loves her child.” He says, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” Would you dare doubt the love of the Father to his Son? I know you would not do so. The Father’s love for his Son is one of those unquestionable things we can never dream of questioning.
Our blessed Savior would have us place his love for us in the same category with the Father’s love for him. He would have us be just as confident of the one as of the other. How does the Father love the Son?
God the Father loves his darling Son as one with himself. The Father and the Son are, with the Holy Spirit, one God, one in an eternal, essential, indestructible union. As such, the Father loves the Son with a boundless, immeasurable love. The Lord Jesus loves us just that way, as one with himself, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, boundlessly and immeasurably! That is exactly how the Holy Spirit describes his love for us in Ephesians 5:23-32. Think about that, and be assured of your Savior’s love! — Loving you, the Son of God loves his own body!
Because of his love for Christ, the Father chose him as his Servant. — “Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth” (Isaiah 42:1). So it is that our Savior loves us, with an everlasting, eternal love. Because he loved us, he chose us to be his own. Do you remember how he puts it in the seventh chapter of Deuteronomy?
“For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
He loved you because he loved you! Divine election flows from the fountain of God’s everlasting love. It was in love that he predestinated us unto eternal life and accepted us in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:3-6).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
O my brother, my sister, hear this and rejoice. — The Son of God loved you before the world began, just because he would love you! He loved you in order that he might manifest his love to you. He loved you in order that you might be conformed unto his image, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren, and that you might forever be one with him in his glory, heir of God and joint-heir with himself!
The Father loves the Son because he is his Son. So Christ loves us (1 John 3:1). The Father loves the Son because of his perfect obedience unto death, because of the righteousness he brought in and the satisfaction he has made (John 10:16-18; Philippians 2:5-11). So Christ loves us. The Father loves the Son as the rightful heir of all things (John 3:35). So the Son loves us (Romans 8:17-18). The Father loves the Son and shows him all things (John 5:20). So the Son loves us (John 15:15). The Father loves the Son because he is glorified in him (John 17:4-5). So the Son of God loves us (Ephesians 2:7).
The Father loves his Son as one who is worthy of his love, as one in whom his soul delights; and our Lord Jesus loves us as a people worthy of his love, made worthy by his love, as a people in whom his soul delights (Colossians 1:12; Romans 8:29-30; 1 Corinthians 6:11).
Because of His Love
Because of his great love, having chosen us in love, so great was the love of our Lord that he became a Man, became one with us, that we might be one with him. He, who “counted it not robbery to be equal with God,” became a Man that he might execute his eternal purposes of love toward us. It is written, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh.”
That is what Christ did for us. He left his Father that he might become one flesh with his chosen bride. He took our nature so that he might be able to do for us and suffer for us what, otherwise, he could not have done and suffered. By taking upon himself our nature, the Lord of Glory established a nearer and sweeter union with his beloved bride than could otherwise have existed. If he had never become the Babe of Bethlehem and the Man of Nazareth, how could he have been made in all points like unto his brethren? What love must that be that brought the Lord of Glory from the highest Heaven to become the Man of Sorrows for our sakes!
Having become a Man for us, the Lord Jesus died as our Substitute, in our room and stead, under the fury of God’s holy wrath and infinite justice, because of love. — “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The laying down of his life is the proof of his love. He died for us voluntarily, in all the pain, shame, and ignominy of sin, being made sin for us, forsaken of God and cursed, because he loved us. Behold how he loved us! Blessed Savior, let me never doubt your great love for me! He died, “the just for the unjust, to bring us to God.”
It was because of his great love for us that the Son of God gave us life by the power of his grace. Read Ezekiel 16 again. There you will see the condition we were in when he came to us in “the time of love.” We were deserted, cast out, filthy, dead, without one to pity us. There we were, lost, helpless, ruined, dead, and no one cared. — Oh, but he cared! Our Savior came to us and drew us by effectual, irresistible love to himself (Jeremiah 31:3; Ezekiel 16:1-14).
Because of his great love for us, the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s darling Son, has forgiven us, blotting out all our iniquities. He has justified us and sanctified us; and he has kept and keeps us in his love!
As I look back upon my own life, I am filled with adoring gratitude and thanksgiving. Surely, goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life! When all the days of my life are threaded on time’s string, what a bracelet of mercies they make! What shall I say of my Lord’s love? If I liken it for height to the mountains, I see Alps piled on Alps. — “Your mercy, O God, is in the heavens.” If I compare it to depth the sea, I am again lost in wonder. I can only cry, — “O the depth!” Let us not doubt his great love. He has proved it beyond sufficiency. Has he not? Let us, then, be ravished with his love!
Because of his love for us, our Savior has made us one with himself. Who can describe this union of love and grace? It is inexpressible. We are married to him, joined to him, cemented to him, grafted in him, built upon him, members of his body, one with him in a living, loving, lasting union! He has made us to be identical with himself! I can hear some screaming when they read that, — “He has made us to be identical with himself!” “You just can’t say that. People will carry it too far! You’ve got to explain that. You’ve got to qualify it. People will carry it too far!” — I reply, go ahead and try. Try to carry that too far! — He has made us to be identical with himself!
“`Twixt Jesus and the chosen race
Subsists a bond of sovereign grace,
That hell, with its infernal train,
Shall ne’er dissolve nor rend in vain
Hail! sacred union, firm and strong,
How great the grace, how sweet the song,
That worms of earth should ever be
One with incarnate Deity!
One in the tomb, one when He rose,
One when He triumphed o’er His foes,
One when in heaven He took His seat,
While seraphs sang all hell’s defeat.
This sacred tie forbids their fears,
For all He is or has is theirs;
With Him, their Head, they stand or fall,
Their life, their surety, and their all.”
The righteousness of our Surety is our righteousness! His obedience is our obedience! His death is our death! His life is our life! His future is our future! His glory is our glory!
This is love, indeed! Our Savior says, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you!” — “Who shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?” This eternal oneness is the security both of grace and glory to our souls. The saints of God around the throne are not more fully loved than we are; and they have no stronger reason to be assured of our Savior’s love than we do.
What more can I say? What more can he say? — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you!” Personally! Freely! Eternally! Intimately! Immutably! Without beginning! Without end! Without change! Completely! With complete complacency, satisfaction, and delight! Faithfully! Immeasurably! Amazingly!
Our Savior says to you and me, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” I take that to mean, “Ever abide in the confident awareness of my love, never doubt it, never call it into question.” I know that is what this means, because he says as much in verses 10-16.
Continue in the Savior’s love, and you will find his love to be a balm for all your woes, a consolation in all your sorrows, strength for your journey, a fire to melt you, make you tender, and inspire you, and a delight to rejoice your heart.
This, truly, is perfect love! And the assurance of our Savior’s perfect love for us takes away all fear (1 John 4:15-19). Therefore, our Savior says, “Continue ye in my love,” ever abide in the confident awareness of my love, never doubt it, never call it into question. — “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 21). Child of God, sinner washed in the Savior’s blood and saved by his grace, walk in this light all the days of your life. — “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”