James Smith, 1856
"He has made us accepted in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:6
Paul was speaking of the great and glorious privileges of the Lord's people, and praising His holy name for them. He traces all up to the rich grace and sovereign pleasure of the Most High God. He rejoices in eternal and personal election to everlasting life, in the bestowment of all spiritual blessings, in predestination to adoption, and acceptance in the Beloved.
In Jesus, His people are pleasant in the sight of God, approved at His throne, and the objects of His highest love. But we are not going to speak of the saints — but the Savior; not the members — but the Head; not the twinkling stars — but the glorious and magnificent Sun.
Jesus is set before us as "The Beloved." There is no need to mention His name if we speak of "The Beloved;" for though there are other objects of love, there is but one whom we emphatically call "the Beloved." Oh, that the Holy Spirit would enable us to speak of Him so as to honor His dear name!
Jesus is "the Beloved" of His FATHER.At His baptism, and at His transfiguration, a voice came from the excellent glory saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And the evangelist John bears testimony, "The Father loves the Son, and gives all things into His hand." Oh, the infinite, the eternal, the ineffable delight, which the Father has in His Son! The whole ocean of the Father's love flows into the heart of Jesus! He is the highest object of His delight; He loves Him equally with Himself; He glories in Jesus, as the word plainly testifies.
Yet, such is His love to His people, poor, sinful, and despised as they are — that Jesus speaks as if the Father had a special love for Him, because of His love to them. Hence he says, "Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life."
In HEAVEN Jesus is the Beloved object. From the Father on his blazing throne, to the least inhabitant of that glorious country — all love and delight in Jesus. Every eye sparkles with love to Him, and every song expresses love to Him!
Jesus is "the Beloved" of MEN.Not of all men, for they do not know Him. But all who know Him — surely love Him. However believers may differ in other things, they all agree in this, that Jesus is "The Beloved." No one can extol Him too highly, or praise Him too much. He is the object all His people delight to honor. With, one heart and one voice they exclaim,
We love Jesus — on account of what He has DONE for us. Whatever turn our love may take afterwards, it is this which kindles it: "We love Him, because He first loved us." And we learn the love that was in His heart — by what appeared in His life. When we discover that he stood up for us in the eternal council, pledged Himself in the everlasting covenant, and engaged to become our Savior — our hearts warm with love to Him. But when we see Him coming into our world, taking our place, laboring, suffering, and dying in our stead — then our love begins to blaze, and flash, and glow. And to perceive that He is gone into heaven, to appear in the presence of God for us, that he is pleading our cause with His Father, interceding on our behalf, and preparing our mansion for us — our love is strengthened and increased yet more. He is our Beloved.
We love Jesus on account of what He has GIVEN us. He has
given us . . .
His Spirit to quicken us,
His word to instruct us,
His providence to take care of us, and
His name to be pleaded for all good things by us!
For "You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though he was rich — yet for our sakes, became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich." He conferred all upon us. He gave himself, and with himself — His unsearchable riches. So that having Jesus, we have all things — we are rich beyond expression, thought, or conception. Apart from Jesus, we are wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; but with Jesus, all things are ours, present or future, in this world or another. Well, then, may Jesus be our Beloved!
We love Jesus for WHAT HE IS. True love is sure to rise and fix on the person. At first, we are more taken up with what Jesus has done for us, and bestowed upon us; but afterwards we are more delighted with what Jesus is in himself. Advanced believers always dwell much on the person of Christ. They love to think of His Divinity — it expands their hearts, elevates their affections, and mixes adoration with their love. They equally love to think of his humanity — and to see him bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. Jesus as the man, possessing human passions, and exercising human sympathies — seems to soften our affections, and they flow forth with gentleness and joy.
But it is the complex person of Christ as God-man, that is the especial object of our love. As God, He is so much above us; as man, He is so nearly on a level with us; but as God and man in one Christ — He is peculiarly adapted to us. So that if we speak of our Beloved, we do not refer to one merely human, or to one only Divine — but to one who is both Divine and human.
The personal glory of Christ attracts our attention, excites our admiration, and draws forth our love. When the eye of the mind is first fixed on this glorious Jesus, the soul sighs out, "Oh, if this blessed Jesus could be mine!" But when the Holy Spirit reveals the fact that He is ours — we are almost in an ecstasy! The joy is so deep, so powerful, that it bears us away; and if it were not restrained, would unfit us for the duties of life.
We love Jesus on account of our enjoyment of Him. Oh, the happiness we have found in Jesus! When we first felt His blood applied to our conscience to remove our guilt, and realized our saving interest in His glorious person and finished work — our enjoyments were Divinely sweet. We can never forget the pleasure we felt then. And how often since, when hearing His Gospel, meditating on His word, or worshipping at His throne, have we found our joy unspeakable and full of glory. We feel that we are indebted to Jesus for all those sweet glimpses of glory, those foretastes of heaven, those spiritual pleasures, which we have often realized.
The presence of Jesus is our heaven. We love to hear of Him, to read of Him, to praise Him; but to enjoy His presence — is our highest bliss. We feel that we could be satisfied with the presence of Jesus anywhere; but without the presence of Jesus we could be satisfied nowhere. How can we help loving Him, who is "the glory of our brightest days, and comfort of our darkest nights." The enjoyment of Jesus naturally fills us with love to Him, and leads us to exclaim, "This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!"
We love Jesus on account of what we EXPECT from Him. He will soon send for us — to be where He is; or He will come again and receive us to himself. He has given us grace — He will give us glory.
We expect great things from Him when He comes. He will exactly conform us to Himself, and we shall be like Him! He will confer on us a crown of righteousness that will never fade, or tarnish. He will robe us in light and glory. He will place us beside Him on His throne. He will beat down our foes before our face, and our enemies under our feet. He will present us faultless before His glorious presence; and He will present us unto his Father without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.
Indeed, we can conceive of nothing that will dignify the body, gratify the spirit, or delight the heart — but we may expect Jesus to bestow it upon us when He comes! And when we call to mind all that our eyes have seen, or our ears have heard, or our hearts conceived, which is great, grand, and glorious — the whole is not to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us! For "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man — what God has prepared for them that love Him."
Is it any wonder, then, that Jesus is "The Beloved" to us? The only wonder is, that we do not love Him ten times more — if we were what we ought to be, we should be daily, yes, hourly, speaking of the glorious honor of His majesty, and telling of His wondrous works. Our thoughts would be full of Jesus; our conversation would be always of Jesus; our writings would be of Jesus. My heart at this moment exclaims, "Oh, that I could love Jesus as I ought! Oh that I could honor Jesus as I ought!"
Reader, do you love Jesus? If you do not — you know nothing of what real happiness, or what refined pleasure is. Is Jesus your Beloved? If not, you have never seen His glory as it is revealed in the Gospel, nor have you experienced the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart, as the glorifier of Jesus. You cannot be truly happy on earth, nor are you prepared to go to heaven. Jesus is the great object of love, adoration, and praise in heaven! All there admire Him, glow with love to Him, and ascribe their whole salvation to His blood!
In heaven, "Christ is all in all!"
In the Church below, "Christ is all in all!"
And in every sanctified heart, "Christ is all in all!"
Reader, is this your case? Is It?