Excerpted from Holiness, J. C. Ryle
Let me show…the peculiar marks by which love to Christ makes itself known.
The point is one of vast importance. If there is no salvation without love to Christ, if he that does not love Christ is in peril of eternal condemnation, it becomes us all to find out very distinctly what we know about this matter. Christ is in heaven, and we are upon earth. In what way shall the man be discerned that loves Him?
Happily the point is one which it is not very hard to settle. How do we know whether we love any person here upon earth? In what way and manner does love show itself between people in this world, between husband and wife, between parent and child, between brother and sister, between friend and friend? Let these questions be answered by common sense and observation, and I ask no more. Let these questions be honestly answered, and the knot before us is untied. How does affection show itself among ourselves?
a. If we love a person, we like to think about him. We do not need to be reminded of him. We do not forget his name or his appearance or his character or his opinions or his tastes or his position or his occupation. He comes up before our mind’s eye many a time in the day. Though perhaps far distant, he is often present in our thoughts.
Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ! Christ ‘dwells in his heart’, and is thought of more or less every day (Ephesians 3:17). The true Christian does not need to be reminded that he has a crucified Master. He often thinks of Him. He never forgets that He has a day, a cause and a people, and that of His people he is one. Affection is the real secret of a good memory in religion. No worldly man can think much about Christ, unless Christ is pressed upon his notice, because he has no affection for Him. The true Christian has thoughts about Christ every day that he lives, for this one simple reason that he loves Him.
Ryle, J. C.. Holiness (Kindle Locations 5037-5042). Heritage Bible Fellowship. Kindle Edition.