The Riches OF GRACE

“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11

Robert W. Reed

June 2016

 

 

Love of Christ

 

“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”  Ephesians 3:19

 

+ Boundless Love +

 

In the Apostle Paul’s Epistles, the term “Love of Christ” is used three times, Ephesians 3:19, II Corinthians 5:14 and Romans 8:35. This glorious truth was the dominating force in Paul’s life and the theme of his ministry. It is the central element of Christian theology. God’s love gave us His Son and Christ’s love gave Himself. As one author so clearly said, “The gift of Christ to man is the measure of God’s love, the death of Christ is the measure of Christ’s love. The text we are coming to is Holy Ground, the mountain top of love, and the glorious truth whereby we are saved and kept saved.” Amen.

 

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.”  2 Corinthians 5:14

 

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”  Romans 8:35

 

This article will show that the love of Christ is revealed in the gospel, and that it constrains the believer to serve God, and it secures our future.

 

The Love of Christ is Revealed in the Gospel

 

The Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 3:14-21, prayed that the church would be able to comprehend the great truths revealed through Christ. In verses 18-19, he spoke of the breadth, length, depth, and height of the love of Christ, “May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Christ’s love to us is immeasurable and boundless. The four dimensions of it shows its vastness. The breadth speaks of its scope in that His love includes the whole world (all nations). The great commission extends to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:18-20). The gospel has brought salvation to all mankind. This can be seen clearly in the testimony of those from every kindred, tongue, people, and nation (Revelation 5:9-14 and Revelation 7:9-17). The length speaks of time. This love began in eternity past and extends into eternity future. In Jeremiah 31:3, the Scriptures speak of God’s everlasting love, “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” Our salvation was planned from before the foundation of the world (II Timothy 1:8-10). The depth speaks of the extent of Christ’s love and how He stooped to be a servant in order to redeem mankind, Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” According to John 17:1-5, Christ left Heaven’s glory for the sake of our salvation. This shows the depth of His love. He took our sins upon Himself on Calvary's cross. The height of His love speaks of our glorification. The Lord Jesus has gone to prepare for us a place in the Father’s dwelling (John 14:1-4). Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, and has lifted His saints to this Heavenly position (Ephesians 2:4-5, Colossians 3:1-4). According to Ephesians 3:19, the love of Christ passeth knowledge. That is, it passes the limits of human knowledge but is revealed to us by His spirit. May it be our desire to know the love of Christ.

 

The Love of Christ Constrains the Believer

 

Christ's constraining love is seen in II Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.” The word constrain means to compel, motivate, urge, drive, or to bear along. It carries the idea to press, govern, or regulate our lives. Love is a powerful force and the love of Christ motivates and empowers us to serve God. The context speaks of Christ dying for all men because all were dead in sin and how we, who are Christians, should live for Him (verses 14-17). It is Christ’s love for us that brings a great change in our lives according to vs. 17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

The Apostle Paul’s extreme life in self-sacrifice and self-denial was because of the love of Christ. It motivated him to suffer many things in his service for the Lord Jesus Christ (verses 7-18; II Corinthians 11:23-29; 12:1-10; Acts 20:17-24; II Timothy 4:6-8). Paul never got over the love of Christ. It dominated his life and his ministry. In Romans 12:1-2, he spoke of our service to God as reasonable service, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” That is, God has never asked anything from us as Christians that is unreasonable. When we consider Christ’s love for us, it should stir up our love for Him. This is why the apostle prayed that God’s people would understand this glorious truth, and encouraged them in their Christian walk. Let us never lose sight of our Savior’s love for us. His only purpose for coming to this earth was to bring us eternal life (II Corinthians 8:9; Hebrews 2:9-18). If this alone does not motivate you to love Him, maybe you need to be saved and experience the love of Christ personally.

 

The Love of Christ Preserves Our Future

 

Christ’s preserving love is seen in Romans 8:35, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” It is the love of Christ that secures our eternal destiny in Heaven’s glory with the Lord. According to Romans 8:35, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. The list of things in Romans 8:35 have no separating power over the child of God. Not even death can separate us from our Savior. The chapter begins with no condemnation for the believer and ends with no separation. In Romans 8:28-39, we have God’s undefeated plan for the saints. The all things that work together for our good in Romans 8:28 is God’s eternal purpose in vs. 29, which is for us to be conformed into the image of His Son. According to Romans 8:30, we are God’s elect, His chosen people (called, justified, and glorified). This is why nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. In Romans 8:37, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. In other words, the one who died for our sins on the cross, will see to it that we arrive in Heaven safely, and nothing can stop that process.

 

Conclusion

 

Have you accepted the love of Christ? Only through His name can we be saved and have eternal life. God so loved the world that He gave His Son, and the Son so loved the world He gave His life. Be saved today.

 

 

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,

and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,

thou shalt be saved.  Romans 10:9

 

 

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”  Acts 16:31

 

 

Victory Baptist Church

Pastor Robert W. Reed

14473 Bellingrath Road

P.O. Box 257

Coden, Alabama 36523