Love Christ Alone

What good is lamenting our sin? Only one thing matters – that we believe in Christ and that we love and trust him.

To fall away from faith, to deny Christ and his love, is the most terrible thing that can happen to us. We are all weak and can fall into sin unless we are protected by the goodness of God. But our love and our confession of Christ should stand unshaken as the deepest thing in our hearts.

Christ is the ultimate voice in our hearts. We can never deny this. If we look into the depths of our hearts, we will find him. We may forget everything else, but not our love to him, our confession of him, our longing for him and our dedication to him. Christ alone can save us. He is perfect, forgiving love. Everything depends on this one thing: do you believe in him? Do you love him?

What good is lamenting our sin? Only one thing matters – that we believe in Christ and that we love and trust him. If we now feel how the whole unhappy world is going to pieces and what an illusion such words as love, peace, and justice are, then we know there is only one true Man, who called himself the Son of Man, the Child of Man. For us, only Christ remains.

I have nothing else to hold on to in life or death; nothing else to believe in for my neighbors, for the people close to my heart; nothing else to trust in for our community; nothing else to hold on to in a world going to pieces. I must confess: I have nothing but Christ alone!

The Holy Spirit is grieved whenever human worthiness – or unworthiness – is put in the forefront. Therefore, we ought to look not to human beings, but to Christ. This is especially true for the person trapped in a pit, someon sunk deeply in the mire. All people in this situation can do is wait patiently for the Lord. They must wait until they see the hand stretching down to them, the hand that will pull them to safety and firm ground. That is the right attitude of faith: to wait for God with absolute certainty and with innermost clarity. And such people, once pulled out of their pits, will not long to return there. No, they will have only one wish: to stay with Christ and share in his love. Christ’s love pierces even into the deepest gloom.

That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why he died on the cross; why he took on the agony of godforsakenness. And he did this all out of love. That is the gospel. That is why he arose from the dead: so that he might reign over the living and the dead; so that now we may no longer live for ourselves but for him. This is forgiveness of sin: being sure that his love is greater than all else. However invincible the powers of sin seem to be, however dark the forces of sickness appear, greater than all is the power of love, the forgiving, restoring love that was revealed in Jesus Christ. Therefore, let us love him, as he loved us first. Let us believe him, love him, follow him!

Adapted from Johann Christoph Arnold, ed. Eberhard Arnold, Modern Spiritual Masters (Rifton, NY: Plough, 2011). The original, from October 31, 1935, is availabe to read in our digital archive.

Article edited for length and clarity.