Monday, March 29, 2010

The Dimensions of God's Love

There are certain moments in life, when God reveals something to you that is so magnificent, so glorious, so monumentally eye opening that you just get overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the revelation. I am not referring to a word of prophecy, a dream or a vision, but simply an explanation of a certain passage in scripture, a verse, even a sentence that had until that time been a mystery or only partially understood.

I had read a certain passage in Ephesians countless times, and in my Bible the few verses that make up this passage are entitled ‘prayer for realization’ I would read, and reread this passage, and would always wonder to myself how it is that Paul hoped we as believers would realize and comprehend the width, length, depth, and height of the love of God. Seeing as I’m getting ahead of myself and some of you might not know what I’m talking about, the scripture I am referring to is Ephesians chapter three, verses fourteen through nineteen.

Ephesians 3:14-19, “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height, to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

One day, as I was rereading this passage, the means by which we could understand the width, length, depth and height of God’s love came to me. It was so simple that I felt foolish for not seeing it earlier, for not perceiving the truth of this passage many years before. The only way we can explain the passage in Ephesians, is by decoding it with John 3:16. In essence, the passage in Ephesians is a graphic representation of John 3:16.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

We begin with the width of God’s love, which is represented in the first six words of John 3:16. “For God so loved the world” this is the width of God’s love. Contrary to popular belief, God didn’t love just a handful of us; God didn’t love just a certain nationality, a certain skin color, or a certain denomination, but the world as a whole. Yes, the width of God’s love is all encompassing. God loved the world, in its entirety, and so He gave His only begotten Son.

It is in the next seven words of this verse that we perceive the length of God’s love, in that He did give His only begotten Son. God didn’t just go to great lengths to show us His love, to prove His love for mankind, he went to the ultimate length, and from that point He could go no further. He gave the best and most precious thing He had, He gave His only Son, that we might receive Him, know Him, love Him, and worship Him. One need only consider the lengths to which God went on behalf of mankind, and for the sake of mankind to be in constant awe and wonder of His love. When we compare the love of God, and what the world considers love, we begin to see the faded and shallow thing the world readily touts as the purest of love. If we are to understand true love, the true measure of love, the true length and width and depth and height of love, it can only be understood through the prism of God’s love for mankind.

In order to perceive the depth of God’s love we need only understand the purpose and reason for which God, in His limitless love, gave His only begotten Son, and that is so whoever believes in Him should not perish. The depth of God’s love is such, that no matter who we are, no matter what we might have once done, no matter how hateful we were of the things of God, or how often we rejected Him, if we come to believe in Jesus, if the love of God takes root in our hearts, and we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have everlasting life.

So often we as mere mortals attempt to dictate terms to God, demanding that certain individuals be saved, while others be forever cast out from His grace. We are so foolish, yet think ourselves so wise, so weak yet think ourselves so strong that we think nothing of passing judgment on others and boastfully thinking to ourselves that we will be on the other side of the gates when they are summarily turned away and denied entry. It is often due to the fact that we have lost sight of the depth of God’s love that we are so ready to pass sentence and cast others into the outer darkness. Remember always, the love of God is so deep that once faith takes hold of a heart, and the turning away from the things of the world takes place, He receives us into His embrace.

Last but not least we have the height of God’s love, which can be readily perceived and understood by God’s desire that all who believe in Jesus would have eternal life. God’s desire is not for us to perish, but rather for us to have eternal life. Are there some who perish? Yes, there are. The idea of universalism that has been creeping even within the house of God lately is nothing but foolishness wrapped up in intellectually sounding platitudes. This notion of many paths leading to the same destination is true but not in the way that it is presented. Yes all paths but one lead to the same destination, but it is not bliss, heaven, or paradise, it is hell, torment and eternal separation from God. There is only one path that leads to paradise, there is only one path that leads to glory, there is only one path that leads to an eternity in God’s presence, and that is the path which God made possible by sending His only begotten Son. Faith in Jesus will not only keep us from perishing, it will grant us eternal life in His presence.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the width, length, depth and height of God’s love and begin thinking to ourselves that He loves us too much to let us perish, but the overwhelming greatness of God’s love must be tempered with God’s justice and righteousness. Yes, God loved the world, so much so that He sent His only begotten Son, and we are given the choice to either believe in Him, not perish, and have everlasting life, or reject His sacrifice, reject His love, and reject His grace, thereby choosing to perish.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

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