After a little break, today I continue the survey and analysis of Francis Schaeffer’s book, The Mark of the Christian. In today’s section, Schaeffer presents his third and fourth practical considerations that a Christian must demonstrate if we are to truly live-out “love” to fellow Christians, and to a watching world. The first was forgiveness, the second regret, and the third and fourth are labeled: Costly Love.
What is costly love?
According to Schaeffer, costly love is “a love in the midst of the dilemma even when it is costly” (p. 28).
Specifically, as follow up to the topic of disagreement deal with in the last section of the book, Schaeffer addresses the question: “How can we exhibit the oneness Christ commands without sharing in the other man's mistakes?” (p. 26). It is with a love that does what must be done, even when it is hard or makes us uncomfortable (28).
This love does not avoid the difficult; rather, and this is the fourth practical consideration, it also seeks to approach problems with a desire to solve them (p. 29). And the winner in this entire process is God, we don’t seek to solve problems/issues for personal gain. No, we do so for God’s glory. Our solutions will bring glory to God, and will simultaneously demonstrate His love and holiness (p. 29).
Key statements from this section (p. 28-29):
The holiness of God is to be exhibited simultaneously with love. We must be careful therefore, not to say that what is wrong is right, whether it is in the area of doctrine or of life, in our own group or another. Anywhere what is wrong is wrong, and we have a responsibility in that situation to say that what is wrong is wrong.
[Commenting on 1 Corinthians 6:1-7] What does this mean? The church is not to let pass what is wrong; but the Christian should suffer practical, monetary loss to show the oneness true Christians should have rather than to go to court against other true Christians, for this would destroy such an observable oneness before the watching world. This is costly love, but it is just such practicing love that can be seen.
A fourth way we can show and exhibit love without sharing in our brother's mistake is to approach the problem with a desire to solve it, rather than with a desire to win.
But we should understand that what we are working for in the midst of our difference is a solution — a solution that will give God the glory, that will be true to the Bible, but will exhibit the love of God simultaneously with his holiness.
You can read the online edition of the entire book here >>
3 John 8