Evening Reading for September 23

John 17:9-14
Suggested further reading: Deuteronomy 4:5-8

In verse 9 our Lord begins that part of his prayer which is specially intercessory and proceeds to name things which he asks for his disciples, from this point down to the end of the chapter. It may be convenient to remember that the things he asks may be divided under four heads. He prays that his disciples may be kept, sanctified, united and be with him in glory. Four more important things cannot be desired for believers.

The Lord Jesus does things for his believing people which he does not do for the wicked and unbelieving. He helps their souls by special intercession. He says, `I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me.'

The doctrine before us is one which is specially hated by the world. Nothing gives such offence and stirs up such bitter feeling among the wicked as the idea of God making any distinction between man and man and loving one person more than another. Yet the world's objections to the doctrine are, as usual, weak and unreasonable. Surely a little reflection might show us that a God who regarded good and bad, holy and unholy, righteous and unrighteous, with equal complacency and favour would be a very strange kind of God!

Of course, like every other gospel truth, the doctrine before us needs careful statement and scriptural guarding. On the one hand, we must not narrow the love of Christ to sinners, and on the other, we must not make it too broad. It is true that Christ loves all sinners and invites all to be saved, but it is also true that he specially loves the `blessed company of all faithful people' whom he sanctifies and glorifies. It is true that he has wrought out a redemption sufficient for all mankind and offers it freely to all, but it is also true that his redemption is effectual only to them that believe.

For meditation: As the husband has a special love reserved exclusively for his wife, so Christ has a special love for his people.

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Evangelical Press; 12 Wooler St., Darlington, Co, Durham, England, DL1 1RQ