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Love for Believers

by on July 12, 2011

I’ll start with Jonathan Edwards:

If the spirit that is at work among a people operates as a spirit of love to God [and] man, ’tis a sure sign that ’tis the Spirit of God. This sign the Apostle insists upon from the 1 John 4:7 verse to the end of the chapter: “Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. Te that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love, etc.” Here ’tis evident that the Apostle is still comparing those two sorts of persons that are influenced by the opposite kinds of spirits; and mentions love as a mark by which we may know who has the true spirit. But this especially evident by the 1 John 4:12 and 1 John 4:13 verses: “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” (Works 4, 255)

This passage is taken from The Essential Edwards Collection.

I really enjoyed their commentary on this section below. It’s definitely something we need to rediscover in our day.

“As Scripture teaches, the healthy church, one filled with true believers, bursts at the seams with love, whether communicated from older women to young moms struggling with the challenges of raising multiple tiny children, or from college students intentionally spending time with elderly members, or from a happily married couple reaching out to another couple struggling with sin (see 1 Corinthians 13). In these and many other ways, the true Christian, gifted with love for fellow Christians, pushes beyond themselves and their natural self-centeredness to bless the people around them–people with whom they may have nothing in common besides a mutual love of Christ (Galatians 3:27).”

They continue:

“This is not a common standard by which people measure salvation today. If you ask a number of Christians how they know that they are saved, very few of them will reference the church and describe how they love people of all types now because of their unity in Christ. Edwards’s words, however, direct us to closely involve the church in our doctrine of assurance. The way one cares for one’s fellow members says more about our testimony of conversion than we might initially think. True Christians serve their fellow members our of love. This is a crucial mark of a saved soul and missing element in many of our assemblies.

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