"Lovest Thou Me?"          

John 21:17


     This is a question that deserves the reasonable consideration of everyone who professes to be a christian. Salvation or the lack of it, life or death, heaven or hell depend upon our ability to honestly answer this question that our Lord asked of his disciple - "Lovest thou me?"

     EVERY TRUE BELIEVER LOVES THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. A christian is a person who has been redeemed by the blood of Christ, born again by the Spirit of Christ, and granted faith in Christ. A christian is a person who seeks in all things to follow, obey, and honor the Lord Jesus Christ because he loves Christ. If a person does not love Christ, he is not a child of God (John 8:42), he is under the wrath of God (I Cor. 16:22), and he is altogether without the grace of God (Eph. 6:24). Love to Christ is the inseparable companion of saving faith (I Cor. 13:13; Gal. 5:6), the motive of all obedience and service to Christ (II Cor. 5:14; 8:7), and the unifying bond of all true believers (Col. 3:11).

     "WE LOVE HIM BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US" (I John 4:19). His love for us precedes our love for him eternally, and exceeds our love for him infinitely. But we do, if we are saved, love him. We do not love him as we should, as we would, or as we shall; but we do love him because he first loved us. His love for us is the cause of our love for him. That is to say, all who are loved by Christ, he causes by his almighty grace to love him.

     THIS LOVE FOR CHRIST, OR THE LACK OF IT, IS SOMETHING THAT CAN, SHOULD, AND MUST BE KNOWN. It is not a mysterious thing. "How do we know whether we love any person upon earth? In what manner does love show itself between people in this world? Let these questions be answered by common sense," wrote J. C. Ryle, "and the knot before us is untied." Then he gave eight marks of love, by which we know whether we love anyone, by which we know whether we love Christ. If you love a person, you like to think, hear, and read about him. You like to please him and talk to him. You like his friends and are jealous to promote his name and honor. If you love someone you just like to be with him. In the light of these things, let us answer our Lord's question - "LOVEST THOU ME?"


Don Fortner