Tuesday 3 February 2015

We must connect true Christian love to our reformed doctrine and manner of living

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends" (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

It is all too common in many Christian circles, for true Christian love to not always be as it should. We all have to humble ourselves before the Lord and to acknowledge that. When we read this simple summary of Christian love in 1 Corinthians, we are surely humbled. We must allow God's Word to break our hardness and pride and realise that walking in true Christian love is essential. This is crucial for the Christian testimony. Have you met people who have an opinion about everything, and they give the impression that they know everything as well? Can you say of that same person that they are a role-model of love as well? I think the latter will be no.

We must realise that in the pursuit of solid doctrine and the reading of good books, there can be the ever-present danger of pride. Paul says this when he writes to the Corinthians as he warns that "knowledge puffs up, but love builds up" (8:1). With pride can come many other sins and they are all opposite to true Christian love.

This wonderful portrait of Christian Love is expounded by the Scottish minister Hugh Binning, who was a contemporary of James Durham. This Puritan paperback published by the Banner of Truth called "Christian Love" is brief but excellent.

In all of our doctrinal pursuit in the reformed world, may we never lose sight of a sincere love for the Triune God and the church especially. If you are struggling with loving others, then examine yourself in the light of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, confess your sins and ask the Lord for help to love as you are required and ask for his grace to do it. May we never forget that "if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing (1 Cor. 13:2).

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