Let me expand on a point from Sunday morning’s message. I argued that “to you who believe, Christ is precious” (1 Peter 2:7). The mark of a child of God is not perfection but hunger for Christ. If we have tasted the kindness of the Lord, we will desire Him (1 Peter 2:2,3). The reason for this is that a child has the nature of its father. We are partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) if we are born of God and have his seed abiding in us (1 John 3:9). We are, as it were, chips off the Old Block. For 1 Peter 2:4 says Christ is precious to God, and 1 Peter 2:7 says therefore he is precious to believers. So I insisted that “belief” which saves is not just agreeing that the Bible is true. Belief which saves signifies a new nature which cherishes what God cherishes.
Now a text that I did not refer to on Sunday is John 17:26. What a promise this is! Jesus, you know, is praying for his disciples and all who would believe on him through their word (John 17:20). He concludes his prayer with the highest petition of all: “Father, I have made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me might be in them and I in them.”
Look carefully. Jesus’ request to God is that God’s love for the Son would be in us. Have you ever thought that Jesus wants you to love him not merely with your love but with the love which God the Father has for him? How is this possible? It is possible because of the new birth. Becoming a Christian means getting a new nature, which is given by God. Practically speaking this means that God comes into our lives by the Holy Spirit and begins to give us new affections, new emotions, namely the emotions of God. It is the presence of God the Spirit in our lives that causes us to love Jesus with the love of God the Father. I believe the Holy Spirit is the love of God personified. To be ruled by the Spirit is to be ruled by a divine love for Jesus. Jesus is simply praying that we may be filled with the Spirit who is the personification of the love the Father has for the Son. Thus we will be filled with the very love with which the Father loves the Son.
And what a love that is! There is no greater love in all the universe than the love flowing between the Father and the Son in the holy Trinity. No love is more powerful, more intense, more continuous, more pure, more full of delight in the beloved, than the love God the Father has for the Son. It is an energy of joy that makes atom bombs look like firecrackers. O how the Father delights in the Son! O how precious the Son is to the Father! “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” God said at Jesus’ baptism. “This is my beloved Son, listen to him,” God said at the transfiguration.
How then ought we to love Jesus! If you are born of God, see Jesus with the eyes of God. “To you who believe he is precious.”