Christ’s Love For His Church
By Charles H. Spurgeon
“…Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it” (Eph. 5:25).
Christ gave all His life here on earth for us. He did nothing for Himself – it was all for us, for His church. His whole life was for her righteousness, for her example, for her teaching and for her quickening. He loved her with no view but the glory of the Father by the salvation of His chosen.
Christ Died for Us
Nor was that all. It was, indeed, but the beginning! Having given His life by spending it all for us, Christ gave Himself up to death for our sins. He went up to the felon’s gallows – the Cross of Calvary – and there He gave His hands and feet to the nails, and His heart to the spear. Laying down His body for us, but at the same time laying down His soul and spirit, He suffered that dread doom of being forsaken of His God, so that He cried, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” There, when you see His pale body, like a withered lily broken at the stalk – when you see the holy men and women wrapping Him in spices and laying Him in Joseph’s tomb – you understand how He loved us and gave Himself for us, dying in our place, a Propitiation and Atonement for our sins! He loved us so as to die for us! He could not have died had He not become Man, but being found in fashion as a Man, and partaking of our human nature, it was possible for Him to prove the utmost extent of His love by laying down His life for us.
Oh, could you not kiss those dear cold feet? Do you not half wish that you could have been there to wrap Him in the spices and fine linen and to lay Him in the grave?
But remember that He now lives! He has proved His love by giving up His life, but now He has His life back and He has gone home to His Father – He has gone back to the royalties He left and put on, again, all the splendor which for a while He laid aside.
Christ’s Ongoing Love and Intercession
Yet He does not love us any the less, for He still gives Himself for us. He acts the part of Intercessor for His church. For Zion’s sake He does not hold His peace. And for Jerusalem’s sake He does not rest. Nor will He – He is crowned that His church may be crowned. He is enthroned that she, too, may come to the throne and He will further prove His love, by-and-by, for He has so given Himself for us that He is bound to come again – to fetch home His affianced when she is prepared for Him and heaven above is prepared for her! Then shall He come in all His glory and she shall be brought to Him in raiment of needlework, in all the splendor of His righteousness and forever and ever shall there be nothing but joy and blessedness!
What I am driving at, and what I want every Christian to get at, is this thought: Whatever Jesus Christ is – and you do not know half of what He is, even you who know most of Him – whatever Christ is in any relationship, or from any point of view, He has given Himself to us! Not merely has He given His thoughts, His actions, His wisdom, His power and His wealth, but He has given Himself to us. Oh, I like to think of this! All that I can imagine Christ to be must still fall far short of Himself! It is Himself that we love and I would sooner have Christ than have heaven! It is Himself we love and I would sooner have Christ than His crown! It is Himself we love and I would sooner have Christ than all the golden streets! It is Himself that we love and it is Himself that belongs to us! Himself, His Godhead and His Manhood, the complex Person of the Christ of God is given to His church!
I feel as if I do not know how to talk at all about this great truth of God. May God the Holy Spirit help you to realize it! That you are loved by anyone is a joy, for love is a precious thing, whoever gives it. But you, believer, are loved by Christ! You are so loved by Christ as not merely to be espoused to Him, but united to Him in eternal wedlock! You are joined to Him in such a way that you must, by-and-by, be with Him in all the glory of His royal estate, for the King will bring His queen home and He will bring you home to dwell with Him forever and ever!
– Condensed from a sermon.