‘The Lord is my portion, saith my soul.’ Lamentations 3:24
Suggested Further Reading: 1 John 4:7–19
The love of God changes us into its own image, so that what the Lord says concerning us, we can also declare concerning him. God is love essentially, and when this essential love shines forth freely upon us, we reflect it back upon him. He is like the sun, the great father of lights, and we are as the moon and the planets, we shine in rays borrowed from his brightness. He is the golden seal, and we, his people, are the wax receiving the impression. Our heaven is to be likeness to Christ, and our preparation for heaven consists in a growing imitation of him in all things. See, brethren, how the Lord gives the word, and our heart, like an echo, repeats every syllable. The Lord loves his people, and we love him because he first loved us; he has chosen his saints, and they have also made him their chosen heritage. The saints are precious to Jesus, and unto us who believe he is precious; Christ lived for us, and for us to live is Christ; we gain all things by his death, and for us to die is gain. The church is the looking-glass in which Christ sees himself reflected; she is like a fair songstress taking up the refrain of Jesus’ canticles of love; while he sings, ‘My sister, my spouse,’ she answers, ‘My beloved is mine, and I am his.’ It is most delightful to perceive how, through divine grace, believers come to have the same feeling towards their God which their gracious Lord has towards them. Our two texts present us with an interesting instance: the church is God’s portion, he delights in her, he finds in her his solace and his joy; but God is also, as the result of this, the church’s portion, her full delight and bliss. Beloved, the love is mutual.
For meditation: God has loved us (Malachi 1:2); how are you responding to him? With unbelief, self-justification and self-defence (Malachi 1:2,6–7; 2:17; 3:8,13)? Or with love displayed in thankful trust and obedience (Psalm 56:10–13; 116:1–2,12–14)? Are you being changed into his image (2 Corinthians 3:18)?
Sermon no. 451
25 May (1862)