Christ's Love For Us
Let us stand still, and admire and wonder at the love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners; that Christ should rather die for us, than for the angels. They were creatures of a more noble extract,and in all probability might have brought greater revenues of glory to God: yet that Christ should pass by those golden, vessels, and make us vessels of glory, Oh, what amazing and astonishing love is this! This is the envy of devils, and the admiration of angels and saints.
The apostle, being in a holy admiration of Christ's love, affirms it to pass knowledge, Ephesians 3:18, 19; that God, who is the eternal Being, should love man when he had scarce a being, Proverbs 8:30, 31, that he should be enamored with deformity, that he should love us when in our blood, Ezekiel 16, that he should pity us when no eye pitied us, no, not our own. Oh, such was Christ's transcendent love, that man's extreme misery could not abate it. The deploredness of man's condition did but heighten the holy flame of Christ's love. It is as high as heaven, who can reach it? It is as low as hell, who can understand it? Heaven, through its glory, could not contain Him, man being miserable, nor hell's torments make him refrain, such was His perfect matchless love to fallen man. That Christ's love should extend to the ungodly, to sinners, to enemies that were in arms of rebellion against Him, Romans v. 6, 8, 10; yes, not only so, but that he should hug them in His arms, lodge them in His bosom, dandle them upon His knees, and lay them to His breasts, that they may be satisfied, is the highest improvement of love, Isaiah 66:11-13.
That Christ should come from the eternal bosom of of His Father, to a region of sorrow and death, John 1:18; that God should be manifested in the flesh, the Creator made a creature, Isaiah 63:4; that He that was clothed with glory, should be wrapped with rags of flesh, 1 Timothy 3:16; that He that filled heaven, should be cradled in a manger, John 17:5; that the God of Israel should fly into Egypt, Matthew 2:14; that the God of strength should be weary; that the judge of all flesh should be condemned; that the God of life should be put to death, John 19:41; that He that is one with His Father, should cry out of misery, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me!" Matthew 26:39: that He that had the keys of hell and death, Revelation 1:18, should lie imprisoned in the sepulcher of another, having, in His lifetime, nowhere to lay His head; nor after death, to lay His body, John 19:41, 42; and all this for man, for fallen man, for miserable man, for worthless man, is beyond the thoughts of created natures. The sharp, the universal and continual sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, from the cradle to the Cross, does above all other things speak out the transcendent love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners. That wrath, that infinite wrath, that matchless wrath of an angry God, that was so terribly impressed upon the soul of Christ, quickly spent His natural strength, and turned His moisture into the drought of summer, Psalms 32:4; and yet all this wrath He patiently underwent, that sinners might be saved, and that "he might bring many sons unto glory," Hebrews 2:10.
Oh, wonder of love! Love enables Jesus to suffer. It was love that made our dear Lord Jesus lay down His life, to save us from hell and to bring us to heaven. As the pelican, out of her love to her young ones, when they are bitten with serpents, feeds them with her own blood to recover them again; so when we were bitten by the old serpent, and our wound incurable, and we in danger of eternal death, then did our dear Lord Jesus, that he might recover us and heal us, feed us with His own blood, Genesis 3:15; John 6:53-56. Oh love unspeakable! This made Bernard cry out, "Lord, you have loved me more than yourself; for you have laid down your life for me."
It was only the golden link of love that fastened Christ to the Cross. John 10:17, and that made Him die freely for us, and that made Him willing "to be numbered among transgressors," Isaiah 53:12, that we might be numbered among the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, Hebrews 12:23.
Christ's love is like His name, and that is Wonderful, Isaiah 9:6; yes, it is so wonderful, that it is above all creatures, beyond all measure, contrary to all nature. It is above all creatures, for it is above the angels, and therefore above all others. It is beyond all measure, for time did not begin it, and time shall never end it; place does not bound it, sin does not exceed it, no estate, no age, no sex is denied it, tongues cannot express it, understandings cannot conceive it: and it is contrary to all nature; for what nature can love where it is hated? What nature can forgive where it is provoked? What nature can offer reconciliation where it receives wrong? What nature can heap up kindness upon contempt, favor upon ingratitude, mercy upon sin? And yet Christ's love has led Him to all this; so that well may we spend all our days in admiring and adoring of this wonderful love, and be always ravished with the thoughts of it.
See that you love the Lord Jesus Christ with a superlative love, with an overtopping love. There are none have suffered so much for you as Christ; there are none that can suffer so much for you as Christ. The least measure of that wrath that Christ has sustained for you, would have broke the hearts, necks, and backs of all created beings.
O my friends! There is no love but a superlative love that is any ways suitable to the transcendent sufferings of dear Jesus. Oh, love Him above your lusts, love Him above your relations, love Him above the world, love Him above all your outward contentments and enjoyments; yes, love Him above your very lives; for thus the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, saints, primitive Christians, and the martyrs of old, have loved our Lord Jesus Christ with an overtopping love: Revelation 12:11, "They loved not their lives unto the death; "that is, they slighted, contemned, yes, despised their lives, exposing them to hazard and loss, out of love to the Lamb, "who had washed them in His blood." I have read of one Dutch schoolmaster, who being asked whether he did not love his wife and children, answered, "Were all the world a lump of gold, and in my hands to dispose of, I would leave it at my enemies feet to live with them in a prison; but my soul and my Saviour are dearer to me than all. If my father should stand before me, and my mother hang upon, and my brethren should press about me, I would break through my brethren, throw down my father, and tread underfoot my mother, to cleave to Jesus Christ!"
(continued with # 2)