“Some think the time will come when two of these three things will also pass away – faith into sight, hope into fruition. Paul does not say so. We know but little now about the conditions of the life that is to come. But what is certain is that Love must last. God, the Eternal God, is Love. Covet therefore that everlasting gift, that one thing which it is certain is going to stand, that one coinage which will be current in the Universe when all the other coinages of all the nations of the world shall be useless and unhonoured. You will give yourselves to many things, give yourselves first to Love. Hold things in their proportion. Hold things in their proportion. Let at least the first great object of our lives be to achieve the character defended in these words, the character, – and it is the character of Christ – which is built round Love.”
In my opinion John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”has been misused and misunderstood and of course, how can we expect anything else when something is taken out of context. Drummond has his own take on this as well. I will pick up from what he was told in childhood.
Christ came to give men a more abundant life than they have, a life abundant in love, and therefore abundant in salvation for themselves, and large in enterprise for the alleviation and redemption of the world.
“What I remember, was, that God so loved the world that, if I trusted in Him, I was to have a thing called peace, or I was to have rest, or I was to have joy, or I was to have safety. But I had to find out for myself that whosoever trusteth in Him – that is, whosoever loveth Him, for trust is only the avenue to Love – hath everlasting life. The Gospel offers a man life. Never offer men a thimbleful of Gospel. Do not offer them merely joy, or merely peace, or merely rest, or merely safety: tell them how Christ came to give men a more abundant life than they have, a life abundant in love, and therefore abundant in salvation for themselves, and large in enterprise for the alleviation and redemption of the world. Then only can the Gospel take hold of the whole of a man, body, soul, and spirit, and give to each part of his nature its exercise and reward. Many of the current Gospels are addressed only to a part of man’s nature. They offer peace, not life: faith, not Love; justification, not regeneration. And men slip back again from such religion because it has never really held them. Their nature was not all in it. It offered no deeper and gladder life-current than the life that was lived before. Surely it stands to reason that only a fuller love can compete with the love of the world.
To love abundantly is to live abundantly, and to love forever is to live forever. Hence, eternal life is inextricably bound up with love. We want to live forever for the same reason we want to live tomorrow. Why do you want to live tomorrow? It is because there is some one who loves you, and whom you want to see tomorrow, and be with, and love back. There is no other reason why we should live on than that we love and are beloved. . . .”
The second paragraph is just the first few sentences of what might possibly be the most powerful part of the address for me. Love has been a struggle for me. Learning to love the way my God loves wholeheartedly is an ongoing lesson. As I continue to encounter and engage with people in this life, especially those who love well. Man, I am undone, you could say that I find myself “disarmed.” This is not a bad thing. I have discovered that I have a hard time trusting. When I open up, find myself willing to trust someone, and experience this kind of love, it awakens this hunger for more. Isn’t it all that any of us ever wanted? When we can picture ourselves as little children, what they most need is to know that they are loved.
A bunch a stuff is going to pass away, burn up, disintegrate, turn to dust but Love, Abundant Love, it is going to last. (I didn’t quote Drummond on the items that will for sure pass away, but he spoke about that too.) How are we going to make it last? Well that is just it folks we can not in our own power make it last. We need to believe that it will. We need to receive it and that is a very vulnerable place to be. It is difficult to give up the illusion of control and thinking that I can manufacture this Love. I am continually challenged by this and I am learning to trust that in fact I am Someone’s Beloved.
This is my 6th and final post on Henry Drummond’s The Greatest Thing in the World and I hope it has whet your appetite for more. You can find the five previous post here:
- Henry Drummond
- The Language of Love
- The Spectrum of Love
- In the Midst of Life (Love continued)