Earlier this evening at out midweek meeting for prayer, we considered Paul’s thankfulness in 2Th1:3,4 for certain things in the lives of these Christians. One of those things was that “the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.” It is a great encouragement to us to expect increasing love in our church and indeed to pursue it.
Later, I was reading Jonathan Edwards’ third lecture in Charity and Its Fruits and he concludes by way of application with a paragraph which has rounded off the evening nicely!
Here it is:
If it be so, that this [i.e. Christian love in the heart] is of such great and absolute necessity, then let it be the one great thing that you seek. Seek it with diligence and prayer, and seek it of God, and not of yourself. He only can bestow it. It is something far above the unassisted power of nature. For though there may be great performances, and great sufferings too, yet without sincere love they are all in vain. Such doings and sufferings may indeed be required of us, as the followers of Christ, and in the way of duty. But we are not to rest in them, or feel that they have any merit or worthiness in themselves. At best they are but the outward evidence and the outflowing of a right spirit in the heart. Be exhorted, then, as the great thing, to cherish sincere love, or Christian charity, in the heart. It is that which you must have; and there is nothing that will help your case without it. Without it, all will, in some respect, but tend to deepen your condemnation, and to sink you to but lower depths in the world of despair!