The Strength of Christ’s Love
The love of Christ is the love of omnipotence.
The love of Christ for his own had the power to hold back the angelic hosts from rescuing their King. “Then Jesus said to [Peter], ‘Put your sword back into its place….Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?'” (Matt 26:52-53). The angels stood ready for rescue as they watched in wonder the Lord of Glory being delivered over to sinful men. The love of Christ held up under the burden of sin’s guilt as he bore the sins of his people. As our representative, sin’s crushing weight cast down our Lord to the ground squeezing out sweat as drops of blood as he prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me…” But love held up! For, we hear the end of the prayer, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt 24:39). And, on the cross we see Christ’s love was held out to undeserving sinners. Of his executioners and mockers Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34), and to the dying, believing thief beside him he promised, “Truly….today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:43).
The love of Christ–strong enough to hold back 12 legions of angels; strong enough to hold up under sin’s crushing weight; and strong enough to hold out salvation to undeserving sinners who will look away from themselves and their sin and look only to the Savior.
Be encouraged believer, for it is the strong love of Christ that has laid hold of our lives and will carry us all the way home.
“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.” Rom 8:37-39
“…that you….may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ….” Eph 3:17-19
I hope you can take a moment to consider the immeasurable, multi-dimensional love of Christ for his people; how long and high and deep and wide is his great love!
Long–How long is the love of Christ? Eternally long! It stretches back to eternity past when in the marvelous mystery of God’s counsel, the Son willingly agreed to come into history as the God-Man and lay down his life as an atoning sacrifice for sin. It stretches forward to eternity future, so that the life he won and gives to his own is “eternal” life. Those who believe in his name will not perish (Jn 3:16); though they die, yet they will live (Jn 11:25). It is inextinguishable life for it’s essence is in knowing the eternal Triune God (Jn 17:3).
High–How high is the love of Christ? So high that in the words of the hymn writer, “it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!” Christ’s love for the individual and for his Church takes us all the way into glory. It lifts us all the way to the Father. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18a)
Deep–How deep is the love of Christ? So deep that he descended from heaven to dwell on earth. He descended to become what he was not (man) without ceasing to be what he eternally is (God). He descended from the heights of glory to live in the depths of humility.
How deep is the love of Christ? So deep that it plunged him into the unfathomable depths of hell, for on the cross Jesus experienced the darkness of sin’s curse and the forsakenness of Divine wrath as the willing, sin-bearing substitute for his people. He poured out his soul unto death (Is 53:12) and descended into the grave in order to save and reconcile his enemies. What amazing, unsearchable love is this!
Wide–How wide is the love of Christ? Well, so wide that it stretches north and south, east and west to whosever will repent and believe on the Lord Jesus alone. The sweep of the love of Christ takes in every class and ethnicity of humanity; male and female, young and old, rich and poor, healthy and sick, beautiful and ugly, athletic and clumsy, etc. In Christ “there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Col 3:11). So that, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21).
Do you know this love which passes knowledge? Has your heart been invaded by this immeasurable, multi-dimensional love of Christ? If not, please trust him and turn to him even now. And Child of God, Jesus wants us to know his great love; to savor it. He wants our hearts and minds marinating in it. He has even given us his Spirit so that we can have “strength to comprehend” it. So, dive into the wonders of his love. How long! How high! How deep! How wide! is the love of Christ.
Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.