The Death That Does Prove the Love

The Death That Does Prove the Love

Editor’s note: Dear brethren, suppress yourselves, and empty your lives of self, that the life of Christ may come in.

How do we know, in our own happy experiences that love toward us exists in another heart? Surely, by act. Words are well (and words are acts, of a sort); but we want something more. Paul thinks that- mightier than all demonstrations of a verbal kind, in order to establish the fact of love in the Divine heart to men-there must be some conspicuous and unmistakable act that is the outcome of that love. So mark that, when he wants to enforce this great truth-the shining climax of all the gospel revelation of the love of God, he does not go back to Christ’s gentle words, nor to His teaching of God as the Father. Paul does not point to anything that Christ says, but he points to one thing that He did, and he says, “There! That cross is the demonstration.”

And, since it has a special bearing on my subject, I wish to emphasize that distinction and to beseech you to believe that you have not got within sight of the secret of Jesus, nor come near tapping the sources of His power if you confine yourselves to His words and His teaching, or even to the lower acts of His gentle life. You must go to the cross. It would have been much that Paul would have spoken with certitude and with sweetness else unparalleled of the love of God. But words, however eloquent, however true, are not enough for the soul to rest its weight upon. We must have deeds, and these are all summed in “Christ died for us.”

Now, there are but two things that I wish to say about this great proof of the love of God in act.

First, Christ’s death proves God’s love, because Christ is Divine. How else do you account for that extraordinary shifting of the persons in my text? “God proves His love because Christ died?” How so? God proved His love because Socrates died? God proved His love because some self-sacrificing doctor went into a hospital and died in curing others? God proved His love because some man sprang into the sea and rescued a drowning woman, at the cost of his own life? Would such talk hold? Then I wish to know how it comes that Paul ventures to say that God proved His love because Jesus Christ died.

Unless we believe that Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of the Father, whom the Father sent, and who willingly came for us men and for our redemption; unless we believe that, as He Himself said, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9); unless we believe that His death was the act, the consequence, and the revelation of the love of God, who dwelt in Him as in none other of the sons of men, 1, for one, venture to think that Paul is talking nonsense in my text, and that his argument is not worth a straw. You must come to the full-toned belief which, as I think, permeates and binds together every page of the New Testament–God so loved the world, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for sins; that Son who in the beginning was with God, and was God; and then a flood of light is poured on the words of my text, and we can adoringly bow the head and say, “Amen! God hath, to my understanding, and to my heart, proved and commended His love, in that Christ died for us!”

The second thought about this death that proves the love is, that it does so because it is a death for us. That “for us” implies two things: one, the voluntary act of God in Christ in giving Himself up to the death, the other the beneficial effect of that death. It was on our behalf. Therefore, it was the spontaneous out gush of an infinite love. It was for us in that it brought an infinite benefit. And so it was a token and a manifestation of the love of God such as nothing else could be.

Now, I wish to ask a question very earnestly: In what conceivable way can Christ’s death be a real benefit to me? How can it do me any good? A sweet, a tender, an unexampled, beautiful story of innocence and meekness and martyrdom which will shine in the memory of the world, and on the pages of history, as long as the world shall last. It is all that; but what good does it do me? Where does the benefit to me individually come in? There is only one answer, and I urge you to ask yourselves if, in plain, sober, common sense, the death of Jesus Christ means anything at all to anybody, more than other martyrdoms and beautiful deaths, except upon one supposition, that He died for us, because He died instead of us. The two things are not necessarily identical, but, as I believe, and venture to press upon you, in this case they are identical. I do not know where you will find any justification for the rapturous language of the whole New Testament about the death of Christ and its benefits flowing to the whole world, unless you take the Master’s own words, “The Son of Man came to minister, and to give His life a ransom instead of many” (Mark 10:45).

Ah, dear friends, there we touch the bedrock. That is the truth that flashes up the cross into luster before which the sun’s light is but darkness. He who bore it died for the whole world and was the eternal Son of the Father. If we believe that, then we can understand how Paul here blends together the heart of God and the heart of Christ, and sets high above nature and her ambiguous oracles, high above providence and its many perplexities, and in face of all the shrinking’s and fears of a reasonably alarmed conscience, the one truth, “God hath proved His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Is that your faith, your notion of Christ’s death and of its relation to the love of God?

1 Comment

  1. Deanna Lynn
    May 9, 2018, 11:16 pm   /  Reply

    True love sacrificed & shed His blood upon this earth for every single soul.
    True love does sacrifice at all cost looking for nothing in return… for has no motive!

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