I Love Thee Still

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
There is a growing tendency to looseness and laxity among believers, and this often takes the form of worldliness in amusements, dress, the furnishing of our homes, our affiliations and our companions.
Once we gloried in the cross, as being crucified with Christ, seeing on the one side a dead world, and on the other side a dead self. Now we view the cross simply as the transaction in which our sins were put away, and there we pause, disinclined to accept it as the end of ourselves for the world and the end of the world for us. “God forbid that I should glory” (Gal. 6:1414But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (Galatians 6:14)) has ceased to be our prayer. We do not want the world rendered an object of contempt and shame to us, nor do we want to be rendered this to the world. Yet, this is where the cross leaves us.
The Beginning of Declension
We have lost Christ, perhaps not as an object of faith, but as the object of our affection. All declension begins here. With many of us it would seem to be enough to know Him as a Saviour. We are quite willing to use His sorrows and sufferings to separate us from our sins, but we do not want these to separate us from ourselves and our surroundings. With the individual as with the church, we are under the charge of “thou hast left thy first love” (Rev. 2:44Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (Revelation 2:4)), and we are solemnly called to “remember therefore from whence thou art fallen” (Rev. 2:55Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Revelation 2:5)). There may be much in us that He can commend, but if He has lost His place in our hearts, if affections are alienated, we are “fallen.” Searching and solemn indictment! And what is His word to us? “Repent”!
It is not enough to be “on the ground” and to “have the truth.” We but repeat the sin of the Pharisees when we become content and complacent with externals. The truth must give us a state that comports and agrees with the place we are in. If this is effected, we will not “walk in the manners” of that world from which His cross has separated us.
Has the blessed Spirit been so grieved that He can no longer make good to us what is true of us in Christ? Have we lost the sense of His preciousness in our souls (1 Peter 2:7)? What disposition or desire can be satisfied apart from Christ, in whom every beauty, every charm and every glory meet? All must be disappointing, ephemeral and empty. The joy you are looking for you are leaving behind you in turning away from Him. Once, the passions and pleasures of this world, its gold and its glory, you counted but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ your Lord. “Where is then the blessedness ye spake of” (Gal. 4:1515Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. (Galatians 4:15))? Iniquity abounds, and the love of many waxes cold.
He Is the Same
But He is the same, and our failure has not diminished His fullness; it is for us still. However chilled in heart or wayward in walk, I hear Him saying, “I love thee still.” Is there not a message from the cross, where love’s sweetest story was so fully told, where we became His at such awful cost, where He bought us so dearly?
I gave it all for thee;
What hast thou given for Me?
How much you are missing by leaving Him out of your life! And how much He is missing! The next thing to being with Him there is to have Him with us here, to have His conscious presence, and so to have a part with Him. When everything was slipping, Paul wrote to Timothy, “The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit” (2 Tim. 4:22). Do we catch this? It is the first movement toward being already in heaven. He was given for you — glory to His name! But have you lost Him as the One who gave Himself for you? Oh, what a loss, since “Christ is all” (Col. 3:1111Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. (Colossians 3:11)). He is the exalted One, “far above all heavens,” and you are not only the object of His consideration, but of His love!
Do we begin to grasp that height to which He has been carried — far above all heavens? He has the preeminence in all things, and “I am my beloved’s, and His desire is toward me” (Song of Sol. 7:1010I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me. (Song of Solomon 7:10)). What a secret to be in — a secret angels cannot know. Wait before Him until He fills you with His own fullness. For one look at Him there, Paul counted “all things but loss” (Phil. 3:88Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (Philippians 3:8)). No wonder he passed into an ecstasy and was “beside himself.” Stephen, occupied with Him and His glory, wore an angel’s face. Look long and lingeringly in that face that streams with the light of His glory, and it will cast a shade on all below.
Are you passing it all by? It is your loss now and eternally. Once in the secret of what Christ is, earth’s joys will become stale, and as His coming casts the light of the nearing glory across this “little while,” it will take the burden from your cross and the sharpness from the thorns, as you haste to meet Him with a bridal hymn.
F. C. Blount, adapted