Recently I had occasion to read some words from the Puritan Thomas Vincent on the subject of love to Christ. They were based on the words of 1 Peter 1:8 where the apostle speaks of loving the unseen Christ. As with much of Vincent’s writings, these words were extremely challenging and convicting. As I read them I was forced to ask, “What is my love for Christ really like?” The words are reproduced below. May the Spirit of Christ take them and probe our hearts and may our love for the unseen Christ dramatically increase.
The life of Christianity consists very much in our love to Christ. Without love to Christ, we are as much without spiritual life—as a carcass, when the soul is fled from it, is without natural life. Faith without love to Christ is a dead faith, and a professor without love to Christ is a dead professor, dead in sins and trespasses. Without love to Christ we may have the name of Christians—but we are wholly without the nature of Christians. We may have the form of godliness—but are wholly without the power of godliness. “Give me your heart!” is the language of God to all people, Proverbs 23:26; and “Give me your love!” is the language of Christ to all His disciples.
Christ knows the command and influence which love to Him, in the truth and strength of it, has; how it will engage all the other affections of His disciples for Him; that if He has their love, their desires will be chiefly after Him. Their delights will be chiefly in Him; their hopes and expectations will be chiefly from Him; their hatred, fear, grief, anger, will be carried forth chiefly unto sin—as it is offensive unto Him. He knows that love will engage and employ for Him, all the powers and faculties of their souls; their thoughts will be brought into captivity and obedience unto Him; their understandings will be employed in seeking and finding out His truths; their memories will be receptacles to retain them; their consciences will be ready to accuse and excuse as His faithful deputies; their wills will choose and refuse, according to His direction and revealed pleasure.
All their senses and the members of their bodies will be His servants. Their eyes will see for Him, their ears will hear for Him, their tongues will speak for Him, their hands will work for Him, their feet will walk for Him. All their gifts and talents will be at His devotion and service. If He has their love—they will be ready to do for Him what He requires. They will suffer for Him whatever He calls them to. If they have much love to Him, they will not think much of denying themselves, taking up His cross, and following Him wherever He leads them.
Read more of Thomas Vincent’s The true Christian’s love to the unseen Christ with an ebook edition