Saturday, May 23, 2009

ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN THE LOVE OF CHRIST
...that which surpassing all human knowledge


so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, 
being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend 
with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, 
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
-Ephesians 3:17-19

All of the law and prophets are contained in the two great commandments: "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." And the second is like unto it, "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:30-31). To love the Lord with every fiber of our being is the great privilege and joy of every true believer in Christ. It is the primary motivation for our worship, service, obedience, and daily life with each other. As our brother John Piper says, "God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him." That is genuine biblical love in action.

Love, though, is such a watered down and misunderstood word today--even in the church. We use the word love in such a casual way, even when referring to inanimate objects, that it seems to lose its very meaning if we fail to understand it biblically. Simply put, biblical love is not an emotion or feeling; it is not conditioned upon anothers response. True love, agape love--the love of God as demonstrated through Christ Jesus our Lord on the cross is five things: it is unmerited, undeserved, unfailing, self-sacrificial, and unreciprocated. 

In other words, He does not love us because we are lovable, lovely, or doing philanthropic acts of kindness lovingly. He loves us not because He finds good things in us to love, but because it is His divine self-pleasure and elective choice to do so (Ephesians 1:4-14). "God demonstrated His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)
His love is unmerited, because we cannot earn it... it is His grace gift to us in Christ Jesus on the cross.
His love is undeserving, because in and of ourselves we are worthy only of His justice, emnity and wrath; worthy only to be sentenced to an eternal hell, a perditious suffering that knows no end, because of the sinfulness of our sin that has rendered all mankind by nature as "children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:1-2).
His love for us is unfailing, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:35-39).
His love is self-sacrificial, for Christ gave His life as a ransom for many by paying once for all the ultimate price for our redemption from our sin. Think of it beloved, if Jesus had not fully satisfied God on the cross as a "propitiation for the sins of the people" (Hebrews 2:17) it would be impossible for God to love me or you.
Lastly, His love is unreciprocated, for even an eternity of praise and worship to Him can never repay Him for His unfailing love.
Paul tells us that this love is grandeur than we could ever think: what is the breadth, the length, the length,the height and the depth of His love. It's breadth speaks of the universality of the gospel - to all the elect from the four corners of the world from all ages, all times, all places, and all nations. It's length refers from eternity to another - throughout all the ages. It's depth means it reaches down to the very lowest station of life and saves us there. Our finite sin, though worth eternal condemnation, is no match for the fathomless depths of God's love in Christ to us. And lastly, the Apostle speaks of its height. This is undoubtedly referring to the exalted state in glory we look for with unshakable hope. His love saves us from the depth of our depravity and lifts us to the heavenlies with Christ in glory.

No wonder His love surpasses all knowledge. And one of the fruits of His love is that we would be filled with all the fulness of God. How wonderful is our God to extend to us His saving love through Jesus Christ on the cross. That His love has marked out for Himself a people from the four corners of the world before times past eternal. That nothing can separate us from His love. And that one day, we will stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy.

So beloved rejoice today in His love for you and come to the Lord's house tomorrow ready to sing, worship and adore Him for who He is and all that He has done.

Rooted and grounded in His love by grace through faith,
Steve
1 John 3:1-2

3 comments:

ljchan said...

And look: Paul writes that this love is such that we need strength to comprehend it! It is no feeble, namby-pamby mushy feeling, as you pointed out; it requires a vigor to grasp it. We must be rooted and grounded in that love itself. And from there, granted by God Himself, we gain the strength to comprehend it, for we have only truly comprehended it when we are living it out. Thank you, Steve!

Rick Frueh said...

To exhibit God's love is both a bold and delicate assignment. To receive His love without sharing it is to confound its very purpose. Of course the gospel is the manifested pinnacle of God's love, displayed by the central figure of His incarnate self, and which must be reprise by His followers.

But many times God's love through us is gentle, is selfless, and many times becomes strong only through a prism usually understood as weakness.

What could be considered more profoundly weak than the All Powerful Creator allowing the filthy hands of sinners to take His life? It is altogether unfathomable to even comprehend such a thought. And yet there it is, in all its bloody glory, the zenith of God's revealed love.

He has allowed, no, He has embraced His own death, disregarding His infinite power and succombing to the unjust machinations of wicked men whose power is a lying mirage.

And He calls us to that kind of love as well. If you have never bit your tongue, or suffered false accusations, or reached out to the vilest of sinners among us, then you have never manifested God's purest love.

Without love we are nothing. And if we have never been accused of compromise we are not walking in that love.

Isaac Success said...

"We use the word love in such a casual way" That is very true especially in the body of Christ today. yet, we forget that it is a potent force in reconnecting us back to Gods love. The Love of Christ is a pure love.