The deeper we reflect on who our Lord Jesus Christ is and where He has come from, the more it serves to highlight the adorable beauty of what He has done for His sinful people. If by faith we accept His gifts of salvation – what He has done and what He gives – the only appropriate response is to love Him. The following updated extract gives Richard Cameron’s reflections on this theme as he expounds the love for Christ that animates the soul of a believer.
Love is misplaced if is not bestowed on Jesus Christ Himself. David bestowed his love well when he said, “Whom have I in the heavens but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee” (Psalm 73). In Song 3:3 the spouse says, “Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?” It is not a mouth or lip love, it is a soul’s love.
Think of where Christ came from
What is His birth? You know if a man comes to make suit to a woman, she will be sure to enquire what parents he is descended from. And is there any like our Lord? He is descended of honourable parentage. He is the Son of the Father. He is the Son of God, and as He is man He is the Son of David.
This is a wonderful thing, that the Son of God should offer marriage to the most insignificant man or woman in all the land. You would be very impressed if the king, having one lawfully begotten son, was to send him to you, and desire marriage with a low-ranking girl. But oh wonderful! God has sent His only begotten Son, who is God equal with Himself—He has sent Him down from heaven to earth, to discuss terms for marriage with the poorest believer there.
Think of the possessions He has
Jesus Christ is heir of all things. All power in heaven and earth is given unto Him. Such is the believer’s Beloved! It is He that has power, ruling over heaven, earth, and hell, and the absolute disposal of all things. He has grace and glory, and every good thing to give unto them that wait on Him. Is it any wonder then that the spouse says, “Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?” She could not endure the loss when He absented Himself. But many, because they cannot get the present things, think little of Christ. Some even say, “If you are faithful and honest, you get nothing! So much misery comes of following Christ; follow Christ and lose everything!” You think Christ is not a good husband, since His followers are so badly treated on earth.
But I will tell you—nay, I assure you—that the believer has as good a right to the world as anyone else, and the one who is cast out of house and hold for Christ has as good a right to it as anyone. Oh then, saw ye Him whom my soul loveth in this night of persecution on the Church—when the Lord’s people are meeting with such bitter things? They will however have much more than their persecutors have. Supposing you did not have twopence to rub together, you have more than all the persecutors have—you have Himself, and that is more than all other things.
Think of His precious person
Let us consider what Jesus is, as to His person. You know when a young man makes suit to a young woman, she not only asks what is his birth and what he has, but has some desire to know what he is in himself. Is he a well-favoured man? So the spouse goes to the watchmen, and to the daughters of Jerusalem, that is, to professing Christians in general, and says, “I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, that if ye find my well beloved, ye tell him, that I am sick of love.” She cannot go without Him any longer.
But they reply, “What is thy beloved more than another beloved? that thou makest so much noise about him.” There are many who say, “What do you mean, making so much ado about Christ?”
“Indeed,” says she, “my beloved is white and ruddy; fairer than the sons of men, and the chiefest of ten thousand.” And indeed so He is, and always will be to any who know the power of religion. He will be to them the pearl of great price. He is refreshing to them every way; He fills the desires of the hungry and longing soul. “His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”
Love Christ for taking our nature
Now let us consider what Christ has done for the church and for believers. Our Lord has been at much pains, and cost too, for believers. Will this not give us reason to love him?
I tell you one thing He has done for us: He has taken on Him our nature.
This is a very familiar thing that you have heard of very often, but it is soon forgotten, and little thought of. He took upon Him our nature. He took not upon Him the nature of angels, but the nature of poor ruined man. Oh, this is a heart-engaging consideration!
Many think nothing of it, that Christ left His place in heaven, came out from the Father’s bosom, and took upon Him our nature. But is it not a great wonder? The eternal Son of God, the second person of the glorious Trinity, came down here on earth, and took on Him the nature of the seed of Abraham!
O wonderful condescension! Many think nothing of it, but let me tell you, poor sinners could never otherwise have gone up to heaven to Him. No; for if He had appeared like Himself, the second person of the ever-blessed Trinity, if He had appeared in His regal robes of glory and majesty, we could not have looked near Him. The Lord became bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. And should not this engage us to love Him very much?
Love Christ for taking the form of a servant
He not only took on Him our nature, but He took on Him the form of a servant. He came not only like man, but like an insignificant, low-ranking man. Indeed, had He come like a rich or great man, poor folk would not have got to come near Him—not so much as to touch the hem of His garment. But our Lord has His own way of coming. He comes like a poor mean man into the world, and He goes ofttimes to poor men’s houses. And seeing He came in such a poor mean way, should not this make us look to Him?
Love Christ for taking all our infirmities
I will tell you further what He has done. He has taken on Him all our infirmities and our diseases. “He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. He was tempted in all things like unto us, that he might be able to succour them that are tempted.” Here there may be some that are hungry, thirsty, and cold, as were some after the affair at Pentland. Although it has not been exactly the same with those who were at Bothwell, at Pentland they were likely to perish in the woods. They were both cold and hungry and thirsty. You know what persecutions they suffered by enemies. But may not this be matter of comfort to all sufferers in affliction: “We have not an high priest that cannot be touched with our infirmities,” but one who was exercised with sad afflictions, and suffered, and was persecuted in His body, in our nature, and therefore knows well how to support and succour His people in all their afflictions. And should not this engage us to love Him, and to desire conformity to Him? For indeed He knows well how to see to us, and how to comfort us under all cases and conditions.
Love Christ for bearing the wrath of God
I tell you further yet, what He has done for us. He bore the wrath of God for believers, for all that come to God in and through Him. This is a strong reason for all the people of God to love Him with their whole heart and soul – that He has borne the wrath that would have crushed all the elect, yea, all the world, and kept them in the place of torment for ever and ever. He bore the wrath that made Him sweat great drops of blood, and cry out, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” What shall I say? He was so deserted of God as made Him cry out on the cross, “Eli, Eli, lama sabbachthani? My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” I think the person that has soul’s love to Christ has good reason to and may well bear the wrath of man: for that wrath is far inferior to the wrath that Christ has borne for His people. Oh, how this ought to endear Christ to us!
Love Christ for dying for us
I will tell you what else Christ has done for believers. Listen carefully. He has even died for them, even the cursed death of the cross. This is how He has taken away the sting of natural death, and He will keep us from eternal death if we believe in Him; for while “we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.”
Love Christ for going into the grave for us
Christ not only died for us, but went down and perfumed the grave for believers, so that they may say, “O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory?” Take note. For, I think, if you are believers you will have love to Him on this account. Those who have gone to the scaffold for Christ did it cheerfully, as if their dying day was the best day that ever they saw in their life. They were sometimes so joyful that their souls, as it were, leaped out of their bodies, because our Lord has gone through death and the grave for them. That is why they have the victory and have overcome death and the grave.
Love Christ for rising again for us
Which leads us to something else that He has also done for believers, and that is, He rose again and overcame death. But oh, how few are buried with Him in baptism! How few have mortified every sin and corruption arising within them, that they may partake of His resurrection unto eternal life and salvation!
Love Christ for interceding for us
Lastly, I will tell you another thing that Christ does to make Himself loveable to us. He is interceding always at the Father’s right hand for you, if you are a believer. Christ’s praying refers to every believer in the Church of Scotland. He prays even for ministers and members who have largely given up praying for Him and His cause! And this is how He “is able to save all that come unto Him; because He ever lives to make intercession for us.”
I say, consider these things, and you will think it no wonder that the believer loves Him above anyone and everything else whatsoever!
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