“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us that, renouncing wickedness and worldly desires, we should live according to good sense, both uprightly and in a godly manner in this world; expectantly waiting for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus; (Titus 2:11-13).
If there is one thing that is noticeable in the present Christian era compared to, say, fifty years ago, it is the absence of the earnest yearning for Christ’s return. One of the reasons for this is that modern theology emphasises the utility of the Cross – “Come to Jesus and be saved” – rather than the character, the nature and the beauty of the Lord of Glory who died upon it. Thus, the contractual nature of modern man’s relation to Christ is emphasised at the expense of the personal; the work of Christ has almost made null and void the person of Christ and what He did seems to be more important that Who He is; there is more significance attached to the work of the Lord than there is to the Lord of the work. Redemption is seen as a transaction which we “accept” and the whole soulless nature of the business produces a faith that is not biblical faith at all.
That this is so is witnessed to by the nature of what passes for worship in the modern Church, more a mirror of the world than a light to the world; it is not uncharitable to observe that a great deal of what passes for worship these days is perfunctory, forced and worldly. Perhaps the most serious charge that can be laid to the account of modern Christianity is that there is insufficient love for Christ. The great saints of old had one thing in common – they were great lovers of Christ. We need once more to be aglow with a personal love for Christ. This love is a kind of moral fragrance that can be detected even on the garments of those possessing it. This radiant love for Christ is what we should look for in ourselves and in those with whom we seek to fellowship. It is, after all, the best defence we can have against the re-emergence of the old nature.