top of page


William Gurnall’s (1616-1679) book, The Christian in Complete Armour, has probably (other than the Bible) given me more help in my Christian life than any other book in my library. Recently, while reading the lengthy sermon preached at his funeral, the following lines caught my attention:

“How often did he publickly deplore and bewail, that the greatest measure of love that is found at this day amongst the professors of the cross, was not true Christian love, but only love of a party!”

It is still something to “bewail and deplore,” that some Christians (and some preachers are among the worst offenders) substitute their love of religious party, denomination, camp, or movement for true Christian love (1 Cor. 13:1-8). This is the love that should be held in common and shown towards one another by those who profess to have experienced the “common salvation” through “repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3; Acts 20:21)—regardless of whatever religious party, denomination, camp, movement or persuasion they identify with.

This isn’t a plea for ecumenicism or an encouragement to doctrinal compromise. It’s simply a reminder that we aren’t really standing for truth if we contend for it in some areas and ignore it in others. To try to “earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 3) while easily breaking Jesus’ command to “love one another; even as I have loved you” (John 13:34) is rank hypocrisy. Whether or not we “walk in love” will determine whether we “grieve the Spirit” or are “filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 4:39-5:2, 18).

We should uphold standards of separation in lifestyle but we must do it within the context of being “holy and without blame before Him in love (Eph. 1:4). We’re to speak the truth without fear or favor, but make sure that we’re “speaking the truth in love,” so we can “grow up into him in all things” (Eph. 4:15). In fact, God’s command is, “Let all your things be done in love” (1 Cor. 16:14) —regardless of religious party, denomination, camp, or movement, etc., etc.

There is very little if any legitimate place in a Christian’s life for even the suggestion of sarcasm, smart-aleckyness, harshness or meanness in how we think about, talk about or treat people. Such conduct is especially reprehensible in a preacher. Sadly, there are those (few, I think) who are careless about this, are sometimes puffed up and proud about it; even admired for it. But this is something about which people ought to be ashamed and mourning, not glorying (1 Cor. 5:2 ; Phil. 3:19; 2 Tim. 2:19).

How we’re doing as Christian’s day by day in terms of maturity and service depends on the love that has been behind and gone into what we’ve done. At Christ’s Judgment Seat our rewards or lack thereof will be determined on this same basis.


bottom of page