Monday, August 16, 2010

How can we know the love of God?

Richard Sibbes continues in  The Matchless Love & In-Being:


1. Present God to ourselves as he is presented in our glorious gospel. There we see "the Father of mercy and the Father of Christ." Whereas the devil "presents him as a tyrant, as a judge, as a revenger, as one that hates him."

2. Strive to be those God loves. Be in the image of Christ "beg of him, that by his Spirit he would stamp his likeness in us; that as he is light, we may be light; as he is love, so we may have love; as he is merciful, so we may have our hearts enlarged; as he is free in love, so we may be free in love; and that we may be holy, as he is holy; that as he hates sin, so we may hate it; that we may joy in him, affect what he does affect, hate that which he hates; that so he may look upon us, as his own image, and delight in us, as the representation of his own likeness."

3. Keep from being like his enemies. "...be unlike the world and wicked persons that are yet in the state of corruption and danger of damnation." Why would God delight in us if we delight in sin?

4. By the Spirit and the gospel. "Especially, by the Spirit, and Christ's manifesting of God himself in the gospel: 'I have declared unto them your name, and will declare it, that the love wherewith you hast loved me may be in them.'"

Ultimately Sibbes rallying cry is this, to know the love of God: "Go to Christ!"
Beg of Christ, the spirit of revelation, as in Eph. 1:17.
Beg of Christ to show the Father to us. You know what that holy man said in the gospel, “Show us the Father, and it is sufficient,' John 14:8. So too we desire to see the Father. We must go to Christ that he would show us the Father; and we must go to God the Father to discover his Son. For either or both discover the other. God draws us to Christ. 'There is none come to me,' says Christ, 'but the Father draws them.' And Christ opens and shows the Father to us, and the Holy Spirit shows them both... he shows us the love of both. He shows us the love of the Father and the Son... strive for the manifestation of Christ, that Christ would manifest his Father's love to us, and that God would manifest Christ by his Spirit: that the Father would give us his Spirit, and the Son would give us his Spirit, which is his love. For God's love is always with God's Spirit. 
How does Christ reveal himself?
"He opens the understanding by his Spirit, and then he speaks to every man's particular soul by his Spirit. 'I am your salvation;' he gives faith, etc., Luke 24:45. All knowledge of God's love is from the knowledge of the gospel, together with his Spirit. For how can I know that God loves me, but by his own word and Spirit, by his own Son, Christ? The Spirit and the word persuade and convince my heart of God's love in Christ."
But I struggle to know...
"Because I cannot enlarge myself, beg the Spirit of revelation; and because the Spirit and word go together, attend always upon the word, and think the promises are God's promises, and desire that Christ would set the promises upon our hearts, that we may know the things that belong to us in particular."
What do I need for this:
"...how shall I know that God loves me, but by declaring his name by the word, and by the Spirit? Christ by the Spirit and by the word declares his Father's name, and so I come to know the Father's love to me. How pitiful is the estate of those souls that live where there is no means, no word of God, no declaring of God's name?"
Next (and lastly from this sermon): But, I've sought to know God's love and not found it? 

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