This morning’s Morning and Evening comes from one of my favorite New Testament books, 1 John. As Spurgeon says, “This truth is foundational, that we love Him for no other reason than because He first loved us.” Every day is a good day to remember the source of our love. He loved us while we were unlovable (and continues to do so).
Even the marriage relationship is built upon Christ’s perfect love for the church (Ephesians 5:22-33). In every way, Christ sets the standard. If He had not intervened, we would never have loved Him. If it were still up to us, we would never last. His love is flawless, complete, and eternal. Not one drop of the Savior’s blood fell in vain. His sacrificial love should motivate us to love sacrificially. Why do we love? Because He first loved us.
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. — Psalm 138:8
Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.
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We love because He first loved us. — 1 John 4:19
There is no light in the planet but that which proceeds from the sun; and there is no true love for Jesus in the heart but that which comes from the Lord Jesus Himself. From this overflowing fountain of the infinite love of God, all our love to God must spring.
This truth is foundational, that we love Him for no other reason than because He first loved us. Our love for Him is the result of His love for us. When studying the works of God, anyone may respond with cold admiration, but the warmth of love can only be kindled in the heart by God’s Spirit.
What a wonder that any of us, knowing what we’re like, should ever have been brought to love Jesus at all! How marvelous that when we had rebelled against Him, He should, by a display of such amazing love, seek to draw us back. We would never have had a grain of love toward God unless it had been sown in us by the sweet seed of His love for us.
Love, then, has for its parent the love of God shed abroad in the heart: But after it is divinely born, it must be divinely nourished. It is not like a plant, which will flourish naturally in human soil—it must be watered from above. Love for Jesus is a flower of a delicate nature, and if it received no nourishment but that which could be drawn from the rock of our hearts, it would soon wither. As love comes from heaven, so it must feed on heavenly bread. It cannot exist in the wilderness unless it be fed by manna from on high. Love must feed on love. The very soul and life of our love for God is His love for us.
I love Thee, Lord, but with no love of mine,
For I have none to give;
I love Thee, Lord; but all the love is Thine,
For by Thy love I live.
I am as nothing, and rejoice to be
Emptied, and lost, and swallowed up in Thee.