Sunday, 21 January 2007

The Love of Christ

Just home from church. One of the choruses we sang reminded me of this piece that I wrote some time ago.

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (1)

What a wonderful passage of Scripture! I feel so inadequate, yet joyfully so, when I consider it. The more I read it the more I realize that no words can do it justice. Anything I might say to try to explain it can only take away from it. Read this passage and when you think you have grasped all there is, read it again and you will see you don’t even begin to get it. When I stand before this passage of Scripture; stand in its overwhelming shadow and consider it, it seems to expand larger and larger until it fills the whole universe, while I grow smaller and smaller until I am no more than a speck of sand before it.

It teases us. On the one hand we are asked to know this love… on the other, it surpasses knowledge. How cruel, yet how wonderful! Oh that our frail human minds might truly know how vast is the love of Christ, but what a glorious futility there is in realizing it is far too vast to comprehend. However much we come to know of the love of Christ, there is always more to know: It is inexhaustible. On the one hand it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we come to know the love of Christ. On the other it is only that very same Spirit of God who shows us that we really can’t grasp it. It is truly beyond understanding. On the surface we might agree, “Yes, the love of Christ is long and wide and high and deep”, but the real question is, “How long and how wide and how high and how deep?” Only if you truly love the Lord can you realize our powerlessness to comprehend it. The more you love Him the more you realize it is impossible to grasp.

You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvellous for words,
Too wonderful for comprehension,
Like nothing ever seen or heard.
Who can grasp your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of your love?
You are beautiful beyond description,
Majesty enthroned above.
And I stand, I stand in awe of you.
Holy God, to whom all praise is due,
I stand in awe of you.

The love of Christ is wide. It is as wide as the universe, as long as eternity, as high as the heavens from which he came and as deep as the sea into which he casts our sins the moment we confess them. And when we look at the symbolism; long and wide, high and deep, we can picture the ultimate representation of his love – the cross, where from eternity past he knew he would come to give his life as a ransom for many. Our Lord Jesus Christ left his father’s side and made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! (2)

It was an infinite condescension for the King of the entire universe to become a man, but how much even more to become despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief; to take up our infirmities and carry our sorrows; to be pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we have been healed. (3)

Such love! Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ...neither death nor life, neither angel nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (4) Praise be to God!

Amazing Love! How can it be that Thou my King would die for me?

Take Care

1 Eph 3:17b-19
2 Phil 2:7,8
3 from Isaiah 53:3-5
4 Rom 8:35,38,39

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