One for the Giver
Scripture Reading — John 17:1-5
Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. 1 Peter 3:18 —
Jonathan Edwards was deeply concerned about the reasons people converted to Christ. Many, it seems, then and now, come to Christ mainly in hopes of strengthening their family, improving their finances, reducing stress, finding peace, having healing, relieving guilt. Others say they believe-but only because they want a ticket out of hell. Granted, when you genuinely convert to faith in Christ, all these blessings are yours. But love for the gifts of the Giver must not come before love for the Giver himself.
Edwards wrote, "Love for God in self-interest cannot be confused with true love for God that comes from true affections. The exercises of true and holy love in the saints is not primarily that they first see that God loves them and therefore is to be loved, but rather that they see that God himself is lovely. Christ appears so glorious and excellent that their hearts are enraptured by him alone. This then is what really motivates their true love of God. The affection of the saints begins with God himself. Self-love is then only of secondary consequence.
"The basis of a true love for God is his intrinsic worth, for he is worthy to be loved for his own sake. It is this which makes him so worthy of love. His divine excellence is so glorious. This is why God is God: to be loved for his own sake."
O God, with Saint Augustine we note: "He loves you too little who loves anything together with you, which he loves not for your sake." In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.