Knowing the love of Christ
God loves every human being!
God's love is far beyond human comprehension. We can
never fully understand its infinite nature. Yet the Bible stresses that love is
part of the nature of God - "God is love" (1 John 4:8). We are not here by
accident - God created us in His image and made us so we could have fellowship
with Him. The psalmist declared, "When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy
fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou has ordained; What is man, that Thou
art mindful of him" and the son of man, that Thou visited him? For Thou hast
made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and
honor" (Psalm 8:3-5).
God created man and woman because He wanted creatures in the
universe who could return His love voluntarily. They would love Him because
they chose to love Him. He created us in His own image. This does not mean that
He created us in His physical image, but in His spiritual and moral image such
as mind, emotion and will. The body is designed for giving expression to the
spiritual and moral nature of humans. God created us so that we could be capable
of fellowship with Him - so that we could have a relationship with Him.
We see the true depth of God's love for us when we look at
the fact of the cross. He loved us so much that He was willing to send His only
Son into the world to die for our sins. When Jesus died on the cross, He was
enduring more than the physical pain of the nails on His hands and feet and the
crown of thorns on His head. He was enduring the awesome agony of Hell itself -
separation from God His Father - as He took upon Himself our sins and our death
and our judgment (see Matthew 27:46, 2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus, in a spiritual and literal sense, descended into Hell,
taking our hell and judgment upon Himself. Because He was the Son of God, He had
the capacity to endure all the pangs of Hell for everyone who was to believe and
follow Him - in past and future generations. This was the only way in which
salvation could be won - nothing is for free!
The breadth of God's love for us is seen in that salvation
is made available to every human creature on earth. "For God so loved the
world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him
should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Paul stated, "For
scarcely a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some
would even dare to die. But God commends his love towards us, in that, while we
were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:7-8).
Are you sometimes tempted to doubt God's love for you, or
wonder if He has abandoned you and does not care? Look at the cross and realize
that if you had been the only person in the world who needed redemption, He
still would have died for you because He loves you. "Hereby perceive we the
love of God, because He laid down His life for us" (1 John 3:16). "...In
this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent His only
begotten Son into the world, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and
sent His Son to be the propitiation of our sins" (1 John 4:9-10).
'Propitiation' means 'hilasmos' (Gk) - the
benefit of Christ's death for man; reconciliation; setting forth the benefit
of Christ's death for the sinner; being made to be a friend of God.
There is another side to God's character. God is also a
God of justice. He is just, because He is holy. What if sin always went
unpunished? No! His holy nature demands that sin be punished. "Thou art of
purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity" (Habakkuk 1:13).
His holy, perfect nature also means that His justice is always perfect.
To fully understand God, we must keep the balance of these
Bible truths (see Romans 11:22). There is no conflict between God's love
and His justice when we understand them correctly. In Jesus and His death on
the cross, the judgment and the love of God come together (see Psalm 85:10). We
must never stress the love of God so much that we loose sight of His justice,
and make the error of thinking God could never punish sinners who reject him. We
must never stress His justice so much that we loose sight of His love.
God does not stop loving us because of our sinful natures,
but at the same time His justice demands severe judgment of sin. Sin, like an
infectious disease, has spread throughout the human race (Romans 5:12).
Its root has been expressed as rebellion, selfishness,
pride, egotism and unbelief. The consequences or 'the wages' of
sin is death, both spiritually and physically (Romans 6:23). And yet God, in
infinite grace and mercy, still loves us enough to provide a way for our
salvation. (Romans 3:16-22).
None of us deserves God's love. (John 3:18, John 3:36,
Romans 3:19-12). It is easy to label Hitler as deserving divine judgment, but
think of the good, kind people you know that would not hurt a soul. Because they
too are sinners, they still have come short of God's requirement for entrance
to heaven. His judgment applies to them too. The highest of human standards fall
short of His righteousness (Isaiah 64:6). So then we dare not neglect to warn
that there is a Judgment Day approaching (Acts 17:31). This is more than
death - it is eternal banishment from the presence of God (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10,
Revelation 20:11-15). Mans greatest threat is not capitalism, communism,
fascism, or any other ideology! Our greatest threat is God's pending judgement
-– we need to be reconciled to God.
3 types of Judgment...
The Judgment Seat of Christ...(
2 Corinthians 5:10)...all those who are saved will be judged according to their
works. This is not a judgment for condemnation, but that of rewards (Romans 8:1,
Romans 14:10-12. The righteous are judged first (1Peter 4:17). All will be
exposed here in a public open display - 'bema' = public judgment seat.
The Great White Throne...(Revelation 20:11-15)...judgment
for the non-saved or the 'dead' in Christ. Everyone will be judged according
to their works. See also the parable of the 'wheat and the tares' Matthew 13:24-30,
The Throne of God's Glory...(Matthew 19:28)...judgment
of the nations. Every nation will be judged, beginning with Israel.
Do not dilute the truth. The Bible, from beginning to
end, is the story of God's love. So the seriousness of hell must not be
Faith in Christ is God's alternative to hell. In Jesus
is help, hope and eternal life. Forgiveness and salvation are free gifts to
those who receive them by faith. Restoration to fellowship with God is the
result. Believers who are "in Christ" are assured of "no condemnation"
(see John 5:24, Romans 8:1).
Let God's Love Set You Free!!
"That He will grant you...to be strengthened" vs 16. Let
your inner man be strengthened by the Spirit of God. Being strengthened (Gk -–
krataloo) means to increase in power. In other words, God will grant you the
riches of His glory so that you will be able to succeed and be victorioous with
might, and increase in power on a daily basis.
"Allow Christ to dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye,
being rooted and grounded in love" vs 17. Love is the soil we are planted on,
and it is through the indwelling of Christ in our hearts that will allow us to
become rooted and grounded in love. When we become rooted, Christ becomes the
anchor to our souls (Hebrews 6:19), and we become like a tree with deep roots,
that brings its fruit in its season, and whatsoever we do shall prosper (Psalm
"May be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the
breadth, and length, and depth, and height" vs 18. The word 'comprehend'
in the Greek translates to 'katalambano', meaning to capture and not let go;
to understand, receive to overcome. On other words, it is through our devine
understading of Christ and His love that we will be able to succeed and be
victorious in all aspect of life because we know the fullness of the Father's
love through Christ.
"And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge,
that you might be filled with the fullness of God" vs 19. This is one of the
few verses in the Scriptures that tells us that we, however sinful we have
become, are able to be filled with God's fulness. "To know' (ainosko, Gk),
means to know through experience and not just theory; a deeper knowledge of God's
character through personal relationship.
Paul's prayer to the Ephesians clearly tells us that we are
able to fully understand God through Christ, and that His love will allow us to
become fully equipped for life -– no matter who we are and what we do. We are
to know that we have the power to become victorious over sin and death by having
Christ on our side. The love of God is a great gift, take it -– its free!
To get to know God's love more, I will...
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