His Great Love
The Issues of Love
The Cross was right in view, and when on that mount Moses and Elijah appeared, they spake with Him of the exodus that he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. They were speaking with Him about His Cross. He was already under the shadow of the Cross, had already accepted it in principle, already yielded by every test to the will of the Father. Love was triumphant already in Him. He was going all the way, and the Divine love and the glory broke out. This is the inclusive note from Genesis to Revelation. Love is always linked with life and life with love - that kind of life.
Is this to you merely a beautiful theme, a lovely song? Does it matter to you whether you have a body of glory? Or is it just a negative matter with you, that you will be glad when you have done with this one, and that is all there is to it? Have you no concern for the glory that is to be? Are you not interested in that great and marvelous statement that we have been called unto His eternal glory (1 Peter 5:10), to be glorified together with Christ when everything of death shall be fully and finally quenched and destroyed, and life - that Divine, uncreated life, that unique life of Christ - shall show what it is, manifest its nature, its qualities? The very glory of God is in His life. It is a big issue, the issue of life.
We know something of glory of this life even now; it is not reserved only for the end. It is not so much in our bodies, perhaps - although sometimes the Lord touches even them with a touch of the powers of the world to come an revitalizes them with His own life - but we do know the whole question of life and death in our spirits, our souls, and what a difference there is between life and death! To sense death, to know something of death inside us, in our spirits, in our souls, to be touched by, or to be in an atmosphere of spiritual death, is an awful thing. But what a glorious thing it is to be in an atmosphere of Divine lie! It is glory in our spirits now. For those who have to live in a world in which there is nothing of the Lord at all, it is all spiritual death, whether it be secular or religious, and it is a horrible thing. But it is a grand thing when you can escape that and find yourself in the presence of the Lord among His people and taste something of life. That is glory of a spiritual kind inside. But think - that is going to be manifested in its fullness for our whole being, including our bodies! It is the prospect, the calling, of the people of God, and it is all a matter of life.
But that life is based wholly and solely upon this matter of love. If you touch anything that is other than love - if you touch hate, animosity, suspicion, prejudice, criticism, jealously, envy or any other thing that is contrary to love - you touch death. It is horrible. When you meet somebody who is eyeing you, not sure of you, suspicious of you, oh, how helpless, how hopeless, the situation is you cannot get on, you are glad when you have passed, but you are sad. You have met with a touch of death. You touch love in another child of God coming out to you, and oh, what a prospect fills the air, what possibilities arise! There is a way through, everything possible where there is love. That is the issue which bounds all, and that is why you begin with the tree of life.
You end with the tree of life, but it is in the garden, the garden of Divine love. That tree can only thrive in the soil of love. These are very practical matters with a challenge. Do not forget that while you need people to love you and show you love, so that your spiritual life may grow and you may be released from smallness and pettiness and limitation and be enlarged, other people need your love to the same end; and you are not going to enlarge other peoples' spiritual life by criticizing them, by eyeing them. You are going to help their spiritual enlargement by loving them with the love of God.
This is inclusive; it includes everything else. We are not surprised, therefore, that when at Ephesus the matter of first love is raised, which is love inclusive of all the features of love, the all-inclusive question and issue arises, namely, that of life.
(continued with # 3 - "No Second Death")