Love Is Heaven upon Earth

Did we believe a final Reckoning and Judgment; or did we think enough of what we do believe, we would allow more Love in Religion than we do; since Religion it self is nothing else but Love to God and Man. Love is indeed Heaven upon Earth; since Heaven above would not be Heaven without it: For where there is not Love; there is Fear: But perfect Love casts out Fear. Love is above all; and when it prevails in us all, we shall all be Lovely, and in Love with God and one with another.

William Penn (1644–1718)

Are You in Danger of Becoming Too Good?

We can never have too much humility, too much faith in Christ, too much holiness, too much spirituality of mind, too much charity, too much zeal in doing good to others. Then let us be continually forgetting the things behind, and reaching forth unto the things before (Phil. 3.13). The best of Christians in these matters is infinitely below the perfect pattern of his Lord. Whatever the world may please to say, we may be sure there is no danger of any of us becoming “too good”.

J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Carlisle, PA: EP Books, 2011), 93.

Forgiveness Is Part of Being Our Brother’s Keeper

Forgiveness is not… individualistic and psychic. Forgiveness does not begin and end with the person who is forgiving, nor is its emphasis on how forgiveness can help me. Whatever benefit forgiveness may have to me personally, it is not about me — it is about us. It is about people created by God to live in a relationship with Him and one another. As such, we are in the depths of our identity lovers of people and restorers of relationships. We are indeed our brother’s keeper!

Alfred Poirier, The Peacemaking Pastor (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006), 114.

The Church Is a Hospital Where Everyone Is Sick

Grace, while we live here, is in souls which, because they are imperfectly renewed, dwell in bodies subject to several humours, and these will incline the soul sometimes to excess in one passion, sometimes to excess in another…. We must supply out of our love and mercy that which we see wanting in them. The church of Christ is a common hospital, wherein all are in some measure sick of some spiritual disease or other, so all have occasion to exercise the spirit of wisdom and meekness.

Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2011), 33-34.

The Effects of Grace

Grace does not merely aid righteous conduct; it also aids in the apprehension of the never-diminishing and nondeterred love of God that makes human righteousness possible. If obedience were merely a defensive posture that [Christians] assume to avert divine wrath or to curry divine favor, then human holiness would be but a euphemism for selfishness. When self-protection and self-promotion become the primary motivations of Christian obedience or preaching, then we have inadvertently made self-satisfaction the Lord of our faith.

Brian Chapell, Christ-centered Preaching, p. 314.