Strength to strength

“They go from strength to strength.” 

— Psalm 84:7

They go from strength to strength. There are various renderings of these words, but all of them contain the idea of progress. 

Our own good translation of the authorized version is enough for us this morning. “They go from strength to strength.” That is, they grow stronger and stronger. Usually, if we are walking, we go from strength to weakness; we start fresh and in good order for our journey, but by-and-by the road is rough, and the sun is hot, we sit down by the wayside, and then again painfully pursue our weary way. But the Christian pilgrim having obtained fresh supplies of grace, is as vigorous after years of toilsome travel and struggle as when he first set out. He may not be quite so elate and buoyant, nor perhaps quite so hot and hasty in his zeal as he once was, but he is much stronger in all that constitutes real power, and travels, if more slowly, far more surely. Some gray-haired veterans have been as firm in their grasp of truth, and as zealous in diffusing it, as they were in their younger days; but, alas, it must be confessed it is often otherwise, for the love of many waxes cold and iniquity abounds, but this is their own sin and not the fault of the promise which still holds good: “The youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.” Fretful spirits sit down and trouble themselves about the future. “Alas!” say they, “we go from affliction to affliction.” Very true, O thou of little faith, but then thou goest from strength to strength also. Thou shalt never find a bundle of affliction which has not bound up in the midst of it sufficient grace. God will give the strength of ripe manhood with the burden allotted to full-grown shoulders. 

C. H. Spurgeon
(this excerpt courtesy of Logos Bible Software)

How great is the love lavished upon us

1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God…

“All of us at one time belonged to the world; to use the language of Paul, we were all “by nature objects of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). The love of the Father that has accomplished the transformation is lavish precisely because it is undeserved.”*

*Carson, D.A. (2006-07-10). For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word (Vol 1) (p. 338). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition. 

God’s love for the world vs. our love for the world

Commenting on 1 John 2:15-17, D.A. Carson writes*:

What God forbids in 1 John 2:15-17 (“do not love the world or the things in the world”), however, is something quite different. God loves the world with the holy love of redemption; He forbids us to love the world with the squalid love of participation. God loves the world with the self-sacrificing love that costs the Son his life; we are not to love the world with the self-seeking love that wants to taste all the world’s sin. God loves the world with the redemptive power that so transforms individuals they no longer belong to the world; we are forbidden to love the world with the moral weakness that wishes to augment the number of worldlings by becoming full-fledged participants ourselves. God’s love for the world is to be admired for its unique combination of purity and self-sacrifice; ours incites horror and disgust for its impurity and rapacious evil.

*Carson, D.A. (2006-07-10). For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word (Vol 1) (Kindle Locations 8063-8068). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition. 

1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.