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"A Prayer for Love's Power" (posted February 7, 2016)
And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.
- 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
What Paul seeks for the Thessalonians is no less important for ourselves and all saints: the increase and abounding of love in us, one toward another, and toward all, in order to establish our hearts unblameable in holiness. This is God's way just as surely as it is not man's way; for people insist on holiness in order to love, whereas in truth love must work in order to have holiness.
It is a true principle from the gospel all the way through, for God's love it was that met and blessed us in sovereign grace when we were enemies, powerless and ungodly, in Christ's death for us. This was the most powerful motive which wrought in us unto holiness. So it is here among the saints, who are exhorted to love mutually as well as toward all, in order that their hearts should be confirmed in holiness without blame-- even as Christ, in love to the Church, first gave Himself and then washes with the Word, that He may present it to Himself glorious, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing (Ephesians 5:25-27).
But there is another consideration of great weight and interest in this brief prayer. He desires that the Lord may confirm their hearts blameless in holiness "before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints." Since it is a question of responsibility, it is not simply His coming that is here spoken of, but His coming with all His saints-- that is, in His day when they shall appear with Him in glory, and He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them that believed (2 Thessalonians 1:10).
How this brings the light of that day on the present hour! Even if one may not for the Lord's sake walk with all the saints now, it is not that the heart is alienated from them; but it anticipates that glorious scene in which they shall come forth with Him, and they will be the objects of our love because they all are objects of His love.