In the next section of attention as I work my way through Francis Schaeffer’s book, The Mark of the Christian, Schaeffer deals with what he calls . . .
THE STANDARD OF QUALITY
There is a second standard presented by Jesus in John 13:33-35, and most interestingly, and convicting, that standard gives us both a qualitative and quantitative measure; it is, “as I (Jesus) have loved you.” That is the standard of how we are to love our fellow Christian. We are to love each other as Christ loved us (p. 12).
Moreover, Schaeffer now makes what I personally believe to be one of his most profound observation in the entire book: that Jesus gives the outside world the right—indeed, responsibility—to judge the church on how well those within the church, actually do love each other. Our observable love for each other is the not only an internal standard we must live up to (as Christ loved us), but an external standard, there for the world to free and fully use, as a point of assessment concerning the authenticity of our faith.
Our love for each other is that observable test, the standard.
Key statements from this section (pp. 12-13):
We are to love all Christians "as I, "Jesus says, "have loved you." Now think of both the quality and the quantity of Jesus' love toward us.
Nevertheless, the love he exhibited then and exhibits now is to be our standard. We dare have no lesser standard. We are to love all true Christians as Christ has loved us.
. . . it can be something as profound as anyone could imagine.
The church is to be a loving church in a dying culture. … In the midst of the world, in the midst of our present dying culture, Jesus is giving a right to the world. Upon his authority he gives the world the right to judge whether you and I are born-again Christians on the basis of our observable love toward all Christians.
That's pretty frightening. Jesus turns to the world and says, "I've something to say to you. On the basis of my authority, I give you a right: you may judge whether or not an individual is a Christian on the basis of the love he shows to all Christians."
You can read the online edition of the entire book here >>
3 John 8