The Faithful Love of a Husband Facing Certain Death

December 2, 2016

Good Afternoon Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I pray that you are rejoicing in the marvelous love of God the Father[1] undeniably demonstrated in the life,[2] death,[3] and resurrection of God the Son[4] and personally poured into the heart of every believer through God the Holy Spirit.[5] What boundless joy believers have in the grace of God given through the Cross of Christ,[6] and what fathomless mercy[7] is ours each and every day by the undeserved providence of the Almighty.[8] I am so thankful that while life is often hard, difficult, and perplexing,[9] God’s sovereign love and His specific watchful care over my life for His glory never ends.[10] I do not know where you are in your walk with Christ today, but I pray you will stop and consider the unequaled kindness and forbearance of God,[11] and that it will lead you to a place of perpetual repentance[12] and of personal abiding in Christ.[13]

The Faithful Love of a Husband Facing Certain Death

 christopher love

A few weeks ago, I shared with you the undying affection of Mary Love for her Lord as seen so clearly in the final correspondence she sent to her husband before his execution. Mary serves as a lucid example of what godliness looks like and acts like especially when facing horrific adversity. One can easily see how the depth of her character and resolve flowed ultimately from a life that was saturated with the Scriptures and centered upon the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Mary stands as a stark example of what it looks like to die to self and to live for Christ as she completely surrendered her will, desires, and dreams to the will of God. Yet, there was another pillar of grace in her life that God used mightily to effectively prepare her for the difficult days ordained for her. At the end of her letter she makes a very important comment when she says, “My dear, by what I write unto thee, I do not hereby undertake to teach thee; for these comforts I have received from the Lord by thee. Here we can see that another reason why she stood so strong in the face of so much suffering was because her husband, Christopher, had cared for her in love like Christ!

In order to further substantiate that point and to highlight the critical nature of the role and ministry of a husband to love, lead, teach, serve, and shepherd his wife and family in the ways of God, I now share with you the last words of Christopher Love to his wife Mary. Stop and evaluate how he was most concerned about the continued spiritual walk and growth of his wife and children. Consider how often he references Scripture and how he charges her with the critical task of raising the children in the ways of the Lord. Contemplate how he rightfully encourages his wife to focus on what God is doing and not what is happening. Calculate the wisdom of this man to deeply strengthen his wife with the undeniable truth of the love and grace of Christ in her life. This letter is packed full of wisdom and practical counsel for marriage, parenting, and life. It stands as a humbling but very helpful example of how a godly man can, and will, impact his wife and family beyond the grave.

May the Lord use this example to encourage your walk with Christ today as you seek to glorify Him in every area of your life. I am greatly anticipating our time of corporate worship on Sunday when, by God’s grace, we will exalt the Lord Christ together through prayer, praise, and the preaching of God’s Word. Will you continue to pray for me as I continue to study and prepare to speak forth the Word of Truth with complete accuracy, humility, purpose, and passion? May the Lord continue to do His work in us as we return to the book of Ruth and learn more about the faithfulness of God, even when times seem frustrating, and He seems to be gone.

Yours for the Master,

Pastor Matt

 

My most gracious beloved,

I am now going from a prison to a palace. I have finished my work; I am now to receive my wages. I am going to heaven, where there are two of my children; and leaving thee on earth, where there are three of my babes; those two above need not any care; but the three below need thine. It comforts me to think two of my children are in the bosom of Abraham, and three of them will be in the arms and care of so tender and godly a mother! I know thou art a woman of a sorrowful spirit, yet be comforted. Though thy sorrows be great for thy husband’s going out of the world, yet thy pains shall be the less in bringing thy child into the world: thou shalt be a joyful mother, though thou art a sad widow! God hath many mercies in store for thee: the prayers of a dying husband will not be lost. To my shame I speak it, I never prayed so much for thee at liberty, as I have done in prison. I cannot write more; but I have a few practical counsels to leave with thee, viz.

  1. Keep under a sound, orthodox, and soul-searching ministry. Oh, there are many deceivers gone out into the world; but Christ’s sheep know his voice, and a stranger will they not follow. Attend on that ministry which teaches the way of God in truth, and follow Solomon’s advice: Cease to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the way of knowledge.
  1. Bring up thy children in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord. The mother ought to be the teacher in the father’s absence. The words which his mother taught him. Timothy was instructed by his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice.
  1. Pray in thy family daily, that thy dwelling may be in the number of the families that do call upon God.
  1. Labor for a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
  1. Pore (intently look) not on the comforts thou wantest; but on the mercies thou hast.
  1. Look rather to God’s end in afflicting, than at the measure and degree of thy afflictions.
  1. Labor to clear up thy evidences for heaven, when God takes from thee the comforts of earth, that, as thy sufferings do abound, so thy consolations in Christ may much more abound.
  1. Though it is good to maintain a holy jealousy of the deceitfulness of thy heart, yet it is evil for thee to cherish fears and doubts about the truth of thy graces. If ever I had confidence touching the graces of another, I have confidence of grace in thee. I can say of thee, as Peter did of Sylvanus, I am persuaded that this is the grace of God wherein thou standest. Oh, my dear soul, wherefore dost thou doubt, whose heart hath been upright, whose walkings have been holy! I could venture my soul in thy soul’s stead. Such confidence have I in thee!
  1. When thou findest thy heart secure, presumptuous and proud, then pore (intently look) upon corruption more than upon grace: but when thou findest thy heart doubting and unbelieving, then look on thy graces, not on thy infirmities.
  1. Study the covenant of grace and merits of Christ, and then be troubled if thou canst. Thou art interested in such a covenant that accepts purposes for performances, desires for deeds, sincerity for perfection, the righteousness of another, viz. that of Jesus Christ, as if it were our own. Oh, my love, rest, rest then in the love of God, in the bosom of Christ!
  1. Swallow up thy will in the will of God. It is a bitter cup we are to drink, but it is the cup our Father hath put into our hands. When Paul was to go to suffer at Jerusalem, the Christians could say, The will of the Lord be done. O say thou, when I go to Tower-hill, The will of the Lord be done.
  1. Rejoice in my joy. To mourn for me inordinately, argues that either thou enviest or suspectest my happiness. The joy of the Lord is my strength. O, let it be thine also! Dear wife, farewell!

I will call thee wife no more: I shall see thy face no more; yet I am not much troubled; for now I am going to meet the bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom I shall be eternally married!

Thy dying, Yet most affectionate friend till death,

Christopher Love.

From the Tower of London,

August 22, 1651,

The day of my glorification.

[1] 1 Jn 3:1

[2] Jn 17:20-26

[3] Rom 5:8

[4] Rom 4:25

[5] Rom 5:5

[6] Titus 3:4-7

[7] 2 Cor 1:3-4; Eph 2:4

[8] Lam 3:21-24

[9] 2 Tim 3:12; Js 1:2-4

[10] Mt  6:25-34; Rom 5:3-5; 8:28-30; 2 Cor 4:16-18

[11] Jn 3:16-18; Acts 17:24-31; Rom 6:23; 2 Cor 5:21-6:1

[12] Rom 2:4

[13] Jn 15:1-11

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