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Held by the arms of everlasting love.
If you’re anything like me, then there are moments (perhaps more than you would care to admit) when you find yourself doubting God’s love. How in the world could he love such a feckless, fumbling sinner like me? What did I do to deserve such an outpouring of everlasting compassion? Well, nothing. And that’s precisely the point. You and I did nothing to “deserve” this lovingkindness so freely displayed in the person and work of Christ. Yet, we are loved anyway.
Such is the thrust behind this enthralling passage take from F. W. Krummacher’s The Flying Roll: or, Free Grace Displayed. I offer this extended excerpt as a reminder of the love that will not let you go. Of the love that’s everlasting.
No mind can comprehend, no imagination conceive, the love of Christ; it surpasses all knowledge and all thought. And his power, like his love, is boundless, unsearchable, incomprehensible. Obedient to his will, the waves of the Red Sea mounted into a heap like a wall of crystal; at his command the solid rock became a fountain of waters; the impregnable walls of Jericho fell down at the sound of a trumpet, and the sun stood still in the firmament; with a word he restored life to corruption, and called the dead out of their graves; and this was but a small display of his power, a trifle for his gigantic arm. Did he not call a world into existence out of nothing, and command that to be which was not, and it stood forth? . . . And yet we have seen but a shadow of his power!
His love is the love of sinners, and his arm is stretched forth to the miserable. It was for us, the children of death, that the bowels of his mercy yearned from all eternity, and for whom his heart burned with infinite tenderness. How wondrous that love, which could impel the Sovereign of the universe to lay aside his glory, and in the form of sinful flesh to descend into this dark valley of tears! A love which prompted him to assume our griefs, the whole weight and curse of our iniquities! A love, which moved him to become the most despised and vile amongst the children of men, to humble himself even unto death, and to shed his blood upon the cross! What an amazing love!
And yet it was a love for sinners, and for sinners only. It was not for angels, but for thee and me, my dear brethren, that he submitted to be thus straitened. The poor sinner is the object of his love, the curse-stricken earth the theatre of its display, and the deadened heart the subject on which it operates. And wherever he has revealed himself in the world, he has revealed himself as one compassionating the miserable, reclaiming the wanderer, and as the sinner’s friend. Such is the heart of Jesus; and his arm, his power, is wielded by this heart, by this love of sinners.
He has ever acted and governed in the world, as if he possessed his power solely for the deliverance, the salvation of sinners. For them he vanquished hell, and trampled Satan under his feet. For them he conquered death, and burst the bands of the grave; and all that he has done, or is daily performing, is designed to accomplish the salvation of sinners. What do we need more? His heart is for us; his power is for us. He lives not for himself, he lives for sinners. In this we rejoice!
His love is an unyielding love: it never relinquishes what it has once adopted. It turned the lost son from the husks of the swine-troughs, from the seat of the scorner and the profane. It followed Solomon into the temples of Satan, into the assemblies of heathen women, and the dwellings of lewdness; yes, it pursued him even to the altars of strange gods, and rested not till it had reclaimed him. Such is the love of Christ! What it has it has, and never abandons. And if Satan assail the Bride, a conflict immediately ensues; which ceases not till the dragon is discomfited. Yes, the love of Christ for his people is firm and unrelenting as hell.
But we rejoice, and praise God that our hope of salvation is founded on such a rock as the love of Jesus. Did our hope rest on our love to him, it would weaken and die if ever our love dwindled and expired: were it based upon our faith, we should be obliged to abandon it, if our faith became obscured: still less can it be grounded on our sensations and devotional feelings, for then we should sink into despair whenever our hearts became cold and barren.
No: our hope is founded on the love of Jesus to us; and here it has found a secure anchorage. It is based on the love which is strong as death and firm as the grave; whose coals are coals of fire, which many waters cannot quench. It is founded on the love which pursues the sinner through all his deviations and wanderings; which loves him, though overshadowed by many inconsistencies; and which stands unshaken, though ours may waver and decline. His love to us is our resting-place, our sure foundation; it is the prop by which we rise when we have fallen; the staff which sustains us on our pilgrimage through this valley of tears. It is the source of our joy, the spring of our courage, and the fire by which we are refined; it is our sanctification and our life.
Believe and rejoice; for thou art encircled by the arms of Everlasting Love.
Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.
F. W. Krummacher, The Flying Roll: Free Grace Displayed (New York: M. W. Dodd, 1841), 237–52.