The Children's Mark
"Jesus said unto them: If God were your Father — you would love Me." John 8:42
The children of God are by nature sinners, even as others; but by grace they are adopted into the Lord's family, and are renewed in the spirit of their minds. The Holy Spirit becomes their teacher, and God deals with them as with children. They are entitled . . .
to exercise confidence in God, for all that they need;
to expect grace and comfort from God, as from a father;
and to live in friendship and fellowship with God.
They are expected, in return . . .
to exhibit the image of God;
to be filled with the Spirit of God;
in all things to aim to please God; and
to hasten home to be forever with God.
But the principle mark by which the children of God are known, is their love to Jesus. They are led to see . . .
the beauty of His person,
the love of His heart,
the design of His sacrifice,
and the glory of His work —
and this always produces love to Him.
They love Him for what He IS . . .
as God, and God-man.
as the Mediator of the better covenant.
as the present and everlasting Savior of their souls.
They love Him for what He has DONE, in . . .
bearing their sins,
working out a righteousness for their souls,
and calling them by His grace.
They love His WORD . . .
as the mirror, in which His glory is seen;
as the record, in which His love is displayed; and
as the will, in which He has bequeathed His property to them.
They love His WAYS . . .
which lead from sin;
which are characterized by holiness;
and which conduct to happiness.
They love His PEOPLE, and esteem them the excellent of the earth. They may be poor and illiterate; they may be despised and hated by others — but they love them, prefer their company, and cleave to them. They love them, because the image of Christ is stamped upon them — and because they love Jesus. For wherever the image of Jesus is seen, or love to Jesus is manifested — there the love of the believer fixes.
"By this we know that we love the children of God — when we love God and keep His commandments." And by this we prove that we love Jesus — when we love His people, His Word, and His ways.
All the children of God love Jesus, though for loving Him, they may be called to . . .
part with their goods,
lose their friends, and
be stripped of their earthly comforts.
They love Him more than these. They can give up these — but they cannot give up Him. They can be happy without these — but they cannot be happy without Him. Jesus is all their salvation — and all their desire. They are not ashamed to own Him — nor afraid to suffer for Him. They love Him — though they do not enjoy Him as they wish. Their daily grief is . . .
that they love Him so little,
that they so seldom enjoy His presence,
that they feel so little of His love.
They want to love Him not only supremely — but intensely; not only really — but with all their hearts and souls! They feel as if they could never love Him enough; and they long for Heaven, that they may love Him without intermission, and without end!
Their love to Jesus always produces high valuation and great esteem. They value Jesus above comforts, wealth, yes, life itself! They esteem Him above all in earth or Heaven.
Their love to Jesus leads them to place implicit trust in Him; they trust their souls in His hands, and rest their salvation on His blood. They trust His word of promise, and rely on His gracious Providence; believing that Providence will bestow what His promise warrants them to expect.
Their love to Jesus issues in cheerful obedience; they not only say, "Lord, Lord;" but they do the things which He commands them. They acquiesce in His will, and desire to obey His Word. They work, not like the slave, from fear; but as children, from love.
Reader, do you love Jesus? You cannot be a child of God without loving Him. He says, "If God were your Father — you would love me." If you do not love Christ, God is not your Father; and if God is not your Father — then Satan is! How awful to hear Jesus testify, "You are of your father — the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do!"