“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?.. 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 8:35,37-39
“I bow before the Father,.. that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend… 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 3:14,17-19
Paul knew how far God’s love had to go to reach him, a reviler of the Sovereign and persecutor of His church. He knew the horrors of punishment and hardship, having endured natural and manmade troubles beyond imagining, so he speaks from experience when he attempts to describe the measure of God’s love. It was real beyond real to him, unfathomable to comprehend, yet ever and palpably present to hold and uphold. It had chased him down, and delivered him from spiritual blindness. Its lavish, personal grace reached to the depths of his depravity and carried his faith to the heights of heaven. (Acts 9:1-18; 1 Corinthians 15:9; 2 Corinthians 11:22-33)
Paul knew what it was to be uprooted from religiosity, worldly fame, and hatred of God’s people to be rooted and grounded in love, and how this supernaturally changed everything. He knew God’s love was undeserved, yet boundless and wondrously freeing. He knew His love was vast and strong enough for every tribulation, every physical and mental enemy onslaught. And Paul desired that His people know, and understand, and trust, and spread, this love. (Romans 3:10-12,23-25)
What keeps us at arm’s length from living in and out this amazing love of God? Do we focus more on what we don’t like about ourselves, frustration over what we do, or anger or shame for what we have done, than we do on God’s grace that reaches through all the muck to us? Do we come up short in understanding because we measure His love by our standards, deeming it conditional and fickle with feelings? Meditating on these passages elevates our thinking and adjusts our nearsightedness to gaze at our Savior. No matter what trouble, seen or unseen, we are tightly secure in Christ Jesus.
What prejudices, hurt, or wrongs remembered (and nursed) are keeping God’s love in us at a distance from others? If we are unwilling to love those around us, it is vital we ascertain whether we have humbled ourselves before Christ’s saving love on the cross. If we, like Paul, recognize that it is by grace that He extends love to us, we will welcome the opportunity to have Him love through us, even those who are distant and hardest to love.
“O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee.
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be.” ~George Matheson (1842-1906)
Lord, may Your boundless love that keeps me flow through me in lavish measure, to Your praise and glory.