It was Sir Winston Churchill’s standing order that when he returned by train from a trip that his dog Rufus should be brought to the station to meet him. Rufus would be let off his leash to dash to his master and be the first to greet him.
One day I happened to be standing close by. Rufus ignored his master and came leaping all over me instead. Of course Sir Winston loved Rufus too much to blame him. Instead, he turned to me with a hurt look and said quietly, “In the future, Norman, I would prefer you to stay in the train until I’ve said hello.”
There is a fable that Satan’s agents were failing in their various attempts to draw into sin a holy man who lived as a hermit in the desert of northern Africa. Every attempt had met with failure; so Satan, angered with the incompetence of his subordinates, became personally involved in the case. He said, “The reason you have failed is that your methods are too crude for one such as this. Watch this.”
He then approached the holy man with great care and whispered softly in his ear, “Your brother has just been made Bishop of Alexandria.” Instantly the holy man’s face showed that Satan had been successful: a great scowl formed over his mouth and his eyes tightened up.
“Envy,” said Satan, “is often our best weapon against those who seek holiness.”
How can the Father hold back anything from the Son whom He loves? Here is one of the central themes of this Gospel. He “has given all things into His hand.” Love does not hold back anything, nor does it measure out carefully little portions of the Spirit now and then. God has given all things into the hand of the One whom He has sent. So, those who believe in the Son are given all that the Father has shared with Him. First and foremost, this is life everlasting, the very quality of life that is in the Father. And this is not dangled out there in some way as a prize at the end for those who believe, but is given now. It is a present reality—life in the Father now through the Son.
Unless we are saved from real peril there is no meaning in salvation.
We moderns have tended to sentimentalize and to tone down “the settled and active opposition of God’s holy nature to everything that is evil.”4