“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory.” (John 17:24)
Believers in Jesus are precious to God (we’re his bride!). And he loves us so much that he will not allow our preciousness to become our god.
Test yourself. If Jesus came to spend the day with you, sat down beside you on the couch, and said, “I really love you,” what would you focus on the rest of the day that you spend together? It seems that too many songs and sermons leave us with the wrong answer. They leave the impression that the heights of our joy would be in the recurrent feeling of being loved. “He loves me!” “He loves me!” This is joy! But not the heights and not the focus. What are we saying with the words “I am loved”? What do we mean? What is this l “being loved”? Would not the greatest, most Christ-exalting joy be found in watching Jesus all day and bursting with, “You’re amazing!” “You are amazing! His wisdom is amazing. His compassion is amazing. His foreknowledge is amazing. His fearlessness is amazing. His words are amazing. Is not his love for us his eagerness to do for us all he must do (including die for us)? Redemption, propitiation, forgiveness, justification, reconciliation — all these have to happen. They are the act of love. But the goal of love that makes those acts loving is that we be with him (Piper).
So I am urging pastors and teachers: Push people through the acts of Christ’s love to the goal of his love. If redemption and propitiation and forgiveness and justification and reconciliation are not taking us to the enjoyment of Jesus himself, they are not love. Press on. It’s what Jesus prayed for.