"Not that we loved God — but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10
As the precious balm of Gilead, or the cassia and sweet calamus of the holy anointing oil — so these blessed words came into my dull and aching heart this morning. Dear Lord, I thank You for them; You have taken them from Your own Book, and spoken them to me with Your living, loving voice — and they have quickened me to love You!
With shame and sorrow, I had brought to You my hard and insensible heart. I could only groan out my utter lack both of faith and feeling before You. The very desire to love You — seemed to lie fettered and powerless within me; only an occasional struggle revealing its bare existence. Then, Lord, while I knelt in Your presence, with bowed head and troubled spirit — tears and sighs my only prayers — and You whispered those sweet words in my ear, and they brought light and liberty to my captive soul! Blessed be Your dear Name for this glorious deliverance!
It is not my poor, cold, half-hearted love — which is to satisfy and comfort me; but Your love — great, and full, and free, and as eternal as Yourself! Surely, I had known this before, Lord; but I had shut myself up in unbelief until, in Your sweet mercy — You spoke the Word which released me from my bonds, opened my prison doors, and led me out into the sunshine of true peace in believing!
"Not that we loved God!" No, and that is the sad wonder and mystery of our unrenewed life, dearest Master. Not to have loved You — is our greatest guilt and shame. It was even worse than this with us, for we were enemies, by wicked works — to Him who claimed the most ardent and grateful love of our souls! We had put ourselves in an attitude of defiance against our best Friend; or if not openly defiant, we were totally forgetful of Him to whom our heart's allegiance was justly due.
"Not that we loved God!" Ah, dearest Lord, You know how deeply, sadly true this was of me — and how I mourn over the years spent without love to You, and at a distance from You! O hard heart, O blind eyes, O poor, dull, sluggish soul — that could be unmindful of the strivings of God's Spirit, could deliberately neglect the pleadings of a Savior's love, and see no beauty in One who is "altogether lovely!"
"But that He loved us!" Here is . . .
a blessed contrast,
the antidote for sin's sting,
light after darkness,
hope after despair,
life after death!
Lord, my soul flings itself on this glorious fact, this saving truth — as a drowning man seizes upon a life-belt thrown to him in the surging sea! If You do not love me and save me — I must perish forever. But there is no question of sinking — when Jesus saves; no fear of losing life — when He loves.
O my Lord, how I thank You for this precious Word upon which You have caused me to hope! Now, all the day long, my heart shall sing over the safety and blessedness of being freely loved — instead of fretting about the sad lack of my poor love to You.
"Not that we loved God" — is darkness, and bitterness, and eternal destruction!
"That He loved us" — is light and pardon, peace and everlasting life!
via Grace Gems