Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Love of Christ Controls Us

2 Corinthians 5:10-15 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (11) Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. (12) We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart. (13) For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. (14) For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; (15) and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Love is powerful emotion; indeed, “love” demonstrates its power as supreme when it triumphs over the also formidable emotion of “fear” (1John 4:18). Godly fear is a desirable basis for evangelism (e.g. Matt. 5:22ff, 7:21ff, 18:6-9, Luke 12:5, 16:19ff for Christ Himself utilizing it) & for continuing in the faith (2Cor. 5:11 & 7:10-11). 

But as John directs in that fourth chapter of his epistle, God’s ultimate goal is for love from Christ to eventually engender within the elect an all consuming love for Christ. Understand- this is the most glorious fact from that chapter: that we need not be overly burdened with trying to produce such a love in & of ourselves; for as verses 9 & 10 of that chapter plainly state, such love is not from us at all, but from God, in the Person of Jesus Christ. Indeed, all of Scripture states God as sovereign in the realm of producing real love…

We can know & exhibit no more of true love than He reveals to us, in us, & finally, through us.

Therefore, perceive, as the elect, you are (thankfully) not called to produce such love by your own efforts; in fact, it is such efforts that God terms “filthy rags”, for they devilishly disparage the desire of God to exalt Himself, which He accomplishes primarily through His Son. God, in desiring a pure love (agape) to be displayed, is consequently requiring that we find it through Him & Him alone.

Thus the glory of the cross of Christ- it is in there alone that we find the ultimate exhibition of love-
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

But then this “greater love” becomes greater still as the proselyte is given the still“greater” understanding this was not mere act of one imperfect man giving his life to save another temporally from a physical death (great as that act may be), but the supreme act of the only holy, righteous, & perfect Man to ever trod this terrestrial ball saving the proselyte from an eternal death in the “lake of fire” in the day of God’s final judgment (Rev. 21:8) .

Thus, it is this love- the “love of Christ” which “controls us”. This “control” is greatly to be praised, because it is God sovereignly exhibiting His holy, pure sort of love- not because of, but despite mankind. It is men’s haughty desire to extol themselves with an exaltation of an impure, imperfect, & sometimes even overtly evil notion of love, but God shows His power as He begins to consume our lesser love by the power of His uniquely unadulterated, pure love.

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