Editor's Letters

by T. Austin-Sparks

August 1927

Beloved of our Lord,

So we constantly address you. And this is no formal designation. It is the address of the Holy Spirit.

To many this fervent hearted New Testament speech may have become a dead language; but this is the case with all scripture when the letter has supplanted the vital experience of the spirit. To those who live because they hear the voice of the Son of God, this "beloved" has the music of God's truth in it.

To love, and to be loved: this is the compass of life in God. "We love Him, because He first loved us." This is the wondrous fruit of Calvary's wooing. "He loved me, and gave Himself for me" declares Paul. Faith dares to interpret and to bring that Infinite Heart down to the personal, individual life. This is also the supreme goal of spiritual knowledge, namely, - in those paradoxical words of grace - "to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ"; for it is beyond all knowledge, yet shall we know it, as we do now in part.

But it's this blessed inner and essential "me" we need to know as the especial object of the Divine Love: "He loved me." For the love of Christ is that foreknowing, elective, eternal, yet discriminating and personal love of the Good Shepherd that has singled me out for His Desire: "He calleth His own sheep by name."

And when our faith can accept this mentally incredible fact, we are perfected in love, and all fear is cast out: we have boldness for the day of judgment. The Blood in the Throne is speaking its Covenant Love in our hearts. Every disciple then becomes "that disciple whom Jesus loved," for the Bosom upon which he rested has become Infinite, and we all have place there. "Behold, what love!" exclaims this same disciple, "the Father hath bestowed upon us." And what provokes this further astonishment of faith? It is that we share the Life of the Only-Begotten in the "new birth." We are His very own whom He has purchased with His blood for a "peculiar possession." And we are the Father's gift to the Son - the gift of Love Universal to Love Particular. Let him that readeth understand.

For while we may never forget that wide embracing love of God that includes "a world of sinners lost and ruined by the Fall," there is for those who have believed that Jesus came forth out from God, who have through their deep repentance and sorrow of grace come unto Him Who calls them from His Cross, yea, they who are no longer of this world, but as He is so are they in it, - there is for them, so witnesses the Holy Ghost, a love in God as between the Father and the Son. "The Father Himself loveth you." And, again, "That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them and I in them."

So "Beloved of God" is no exaggeration of religious ecstasy, but the sober speech of believing hearts. "Herein is love." The devil would have us doubt this or pass it by as something unreal and ecstatic, some cloud of deluded dreaming, or else something it is not now lawful for us to gaze upon. But the truth is sealed in ransoming blood. He loves me. Take it to your heart.

One would press the balm home to bruised and torn souls. Some maybe who are seeking rest at this time, and finding none, because there is no rest within. Are you in danger of forgetting or disbelieving God's personal love for you? Have service, obligation, or even truth, as impersonal and doctrinal truth, so crowded in upon your mind, that you are cumbered in heart, jaded and lean as to this vital treasure of grace, - God's love? Have you forgotten that He loves you, and wants you to rest in that, and to give Him love in return that shall be the unfailing spring of all service?

Will you not therefore sit in His Presence this holiday-time and with great delight realise His Banner, His very Protection over you, is love?

Beloved, let us think of His love once again. This is a month of rest for many a Christian worker. The tired and the weary are seeking quiet places. Oh, is there not a place of the deepest and quietest rest, rest of heart, where the fury of the oppressor cannot touch the warrior of the Cross? It is to allow Him, Who, alas, is so often the Divine Stranger even to His own, to pour in His Oil and His Wine, even the Love of God poured forth in our hearts by His Spirit. We have ministered to Him throughout the year, it may have been feebly and very imperfectly. He would also minister to us.

Yours in the Love of the Paraclete,
T. Austin-Sparks
T. Madoc-Jeffreys.

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