My great-grandfather was a talented silversmith; when my grandmother was born in 1893 he created a beautiful silver tankard with a delicately engraved picture, and inscribed it with her name, her date-of-birth, and the message, ‘From her loving father’. What he didn’t do was have this solid silver treasure hall-marked; because of that it cannot be authentically dated, even though I know its history and that it is genuine. A hallmark is a mark stamped on articles of gold, silver, or platinum by the British assay offices, certifying their standard of purity, and it costs to have it put on an item.
During the final hours before He was crucified, Yahshua spoke about an identifiable mark that would hallmark His disciples so the world could recognise both their ‘provenance’ and their purity. “Love each other.” He urged. “Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” [John 13:34-35 NLT].
Every generation of disciples must bear this distinguishing mark; we should show love to each another not because we must – but because we’re marked! Matthew Henry wrote, “A man is not sincere, will not be constant and persevering, unless love for [Yahshua] exceeds all else.” When this kind of love is experienced then, I believe, we will love because we can’t help it! The apostle Paul famously describes love in his letter to the Corinthians, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” [1 Corinthians 13:4-6 NLT].
This amazing statement regularly challenges me to be actively committed to allowing myself to be precisely crafted in Yahshua’s image, and to maintain a pursuit of holiness. It’s the work of sanctification in the heart that draws us into an ever-deeper manifestation of holy love!
Are you, am I, carrying this hallmark?
Photo: Valerie Warsop