THE LOVE OF GOD The Greatest Theme! From Our Hope Magazine, year 1919
"The greatest of these is love" (1 Cor. 13:13). Not our little love, but His great love! "Perfect love casteth out fear," writes the beloved disciple (1 John 4:18). But not our love but His wonderful love. Of this love, the Apostle Paul writes:
"And to know the love of Christ, which passeth [means surpasses] knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:19).
The love of Jesus Christ is the greatest theme of the Word of God. The dimensions of this love, the breadth, the length, the height and the depth cannot be measured. It extends over all the ages and will last forever and ever. The height is Heaven's Glory; the depth, the horrible pit of darkness, death and judgment into which He went for the lost sinners. In love He stooped so low and lifts so high. The riches of His love are unsearchable.
The love of Christ alone can satisfy our hearts. This is our resting place-- not our weak and little love for Him, but His eternal, omniscient and perfect love for us. The knowledge of it in faith gives peace and joy, upholds in earth's sorrows, makes earthly joys and pleasures vanish, fills the soul with longing for Himself. And yet how little we drink at this blessed fountain! How often is the creature's love more real to us, yea, more enjoyed, than His surpassing love! Yet His love continues and can never end for those who have trusted in Christ.
It passeth knowledge because it never had beginning. It is an infinite, an eternal love. Before the foundation of the world He loved the church and had His heart set upon us. All His own were known to Him, before they ever existed. And well may we remember that this is true of us as individuals. He knew our sin and our shame, yet He loved us. This passeth knowledge.
It passeth knowledge because the Lord Jesus laid His glory aside and became flesh. Love led Him down. And then He gave Himself for us. The Church is the pearl of great price for which He gave all He had to give to possess her. But while it is true that "Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it," it is equally true that each believer, put into that church by the Holy Spirit as a member, can say, "He loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). It is therefore a personal love; and that passeth knowledge.
It passeth knowledge when we think that our blessed Savior bore our individual sins in His body on the tree. All were known to Him and He paid for all of them with His precious blood. It passeth knowledge, when we think what agony and suffering this involved. And what are we that He should pass through all of this, and stand in our stead! "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8). Ungodly, sinners, enemies of God, vile and lost, such we were by nature, and such He loved and for such He gave Himself. It passeth knowledge. But now we can rejoice in the triumphs of His awesome love-- accomplished in His finished work.
"The storm that bow'd Thy blessed Head, Is hushed forever now, And rest divine is mind instead Whilst Glory crowns Thy brow."
It passeth knowledge-- for as wandering lost sheep, the Lord Jesus went after us and sought us. He drew us with the cords of love (Hos. 11:4) and then "He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love" (Song of Sol. 2:4). And how His love has provided for all our need, for our comfort and peace, for our rest and enjoyment! In that banqueting house of salvation and fellowship with Himself, all is love, which passeth knowledge. The feast is rich, and He invites us to enjoy the riches of that love. Love wants to give. Oh! for hearts open, constantly open to receive the fullness of His love, the blessings of love, He is so willing to give! Love wants to be trusted. Oh! for a more perfect trust in Him who loveth us!
It passeth knowledge when we think how He bears with us in our erring ways. He knows each one. He knows our frame, our weakness, our sins, our failings; He knows the secrets of our hearts. He knoweth it all and still loves us. The blessed work, foreshadowed when Christ girded Himself and washed His disciples' feet is still done by Him. In this work of His love, He cleanses us by the washing of water by the Word. He takes away that which defiles us. In our failures He bears with us and restores to fellowship by His work of love, as our Advocate.
It passeth knowledge-- this mighty love-- because He protects us, and in His loving care He ever thinks of each of us. How it must grieve Him when our anxieties and fears accuse Him our not caring for us! "Carest Thou not?" said Martha to Him in her anxious service. And each fear, each doubt, each anxious burden we bear ourselves, but repeats this sinful charge. He does care and bids us to cast our cares upon Him. Our blessed Savior will never leave us. He can never forsake us. All things, no matter what they are, are directed by Himself and arranged by His love, so that they must work together for good.
It passeth knowledge, for Christ will never cease loving those who are washed in His own blood. He will keep us to the end, and through His love and power, present the Church to Himself-- a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. The future will yet manifest the love that passeth knowledge. When we shall be welcomed by Him in the Father's house, where we become the partakers of His own Glory and bear His own image, when that blessed eternity of Glory begins, then we shall begin to know more fully that love, which passeth knowledge.
But now down here, as pilgrims and strangers, we can have it as our blessed and daily portion to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge. We can know what passeth knowledge. Yes as we know the love of Christ Jesus, as we taste that love, trust His love, receive from His fullness, we discover that it does pass knowledge. May the Spirit of God lead us on into the knowledge of His perfect love! And that carries with it great responsibility. The love of Christ enjoyed and trusted will constrain us. We shall live no longer for ourselves, but for Him. Love begets love. Filled with His love, we shall love and walk in love, Yea in that love in Him and His love shed abroad in our hearts we shall be filled with all the fullness of God.
It passeth knowledge! that dear love of Thine, O Jesus, Saviour; yet this soul of mine Would of Thy love, in all its breadth and length, Its height and depth and everlasting strength, Know more and more. Lord Jesus, when Thee face to face I see, When on Thy lofty throne I sit with Thee, Then of Thy love in all its breadth and length, Its height and depth, its everlasting strength, My soul shall sing.
Our Hope Magazine, April 1919. Transcribed and modified for the web by Cobblestone Road Ministries.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.