Reading: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit[a] in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.” 1 Peter 1:22
The scriptures speak of the love of Christ as something that is extremely precious and uniquely special. Christ’s love is an excellent love with excellent and eternal qualities.
Christ’s love is unselfish. Man often loves because he thinks he will gain something from it. That can never be said of Christ. Christ’s love for His people was a true love. Charles Spurgeon said of Christ, “He certainly had nothing to gain from associating with them, and nothing to learn from them.” Christ loved unselfishly.
Christ’s love is pure. When Peter spoke of loving one another he added, “with a pure heart fervently.” Those words find their ultimate expression in Christ. The Lord Jesus had a pure heart and therefore He had pure love. It wasn’t mixed with hypocrisy.
Christ’s love is gracious. This has to be the most amazing aspect of this: Christ loves those who had no love for Him. He loved us while we were yet sinners. He loved us independently of our feelings for Him and He loved us unconditionally. Christ’s love toward is both true and gracious.
Christ’s love is eternal. Human love rises and falls. Men “fall in love” and “fall out of love” just as quickly. Not so the love of Christ; His saving love is from everlasting to everlasting. Who can query this divine love to undeserving men and women? We can’t. He has loved us, and now He commands that we love others as He has loved us.
Our Saviour has made love the characteristic of his disciples; and without some evidence that this is the prevailing disposition of the heart, we could find little comfort in calling him [our] God. Let not this be accounted legality, as if our dependence was upon something in ourselves. The question is not concerning the method of acceptance with God, but concerning the fruits or tokens of an accepted state. (John Newton, Works, 1:356)