Christians do not fall in and out of their love for Christ. It is impossible for those who have truly been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit to abandon the faith. As new creations, we are not capable of mutating back into God-haters and Christ-rejectors.
Today’s Morning and Evening reminds us that a true believer’s love for Christ will rightly deepen and persevere to the very end.
But what about those who share in the Holy Spirit and fall away (Hebrews 6:4-6)? In a sermon on this passage, Charles Spurgeon makes the helpful distinction between falling and falling away. He illustrates the concept with the disparity between fainting and dying. A fainting Christian may fall to the ground and appear dead for a while, but he will rise again once consciousness returns. Not so with a dead man.
Transformed sinners occasionally fall but never fall away. We may live in a season of unconfessed sin as David did… or, like Peter, deny our Lord with curses… but the undead heart will always return to its senses. We are bound together with Christ. Nothing can separate us from His love and nothing is capable of ultimately destroying the believer’s love for Him. As today’s devotional states,
Neither crowns of honor, nor frowns of anger have been able to untie this loving knot.
Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.
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Rightly do they love you. — Song of Solomon 1:4
Believers love Jesus with a deeper affection then they dare to give to any other being. They would sooner lose father and mother than part with Christ. They hold all earthly comforts with a loose hand, but they carry Him locked tight in their hearts. They voluntarily deny themselves for His sake, but they are not to be driven to deny Him. It is a feeble love that the fire of persecution can dry up; the true believer’s love is a deeper stream than this.
Men have tried to divide the faithful from their Master, but their attempts have been fruitless in every age. Neither crowns of honor, nor frowns of anger have been able to untie this loving knot. This is not just a routine attachment that the world’s power may eventually dissolve. Neither man nor devil have found a key that opens this lock. Never has the craft of Satan been more at fault than when he has exercised it in seeking to break this union of two divinely welded hearts. It is written, and nothing can blot out the sentence, “Rightly do they love you.” The intensity of the love of the upright, however, is not so much to be judged by how it appears as by what the upright long for.
It is our daily lament that we cannot love enough. If only our hearts were capable of holding more and reaching further. Like Samuel Rutherford, we sigh and cry, “Oh, for as much love as would go round about the earth, and over heaven—yes, the heaven of heavens, and ten thousand worlds—that I might expand it all upon this fairest Lord Jesus.” Unfortunately, our longest reach is only a span of love, and our affection is like a drop in a bucket compared with what He deserves. Measure our love by our intentions, and it is strong indeed; we trust that the Lord judges it in this way. If only we could give all the love in all hearts in one great offering, a gathering together of all loves to Him who is altogether lovely!