Have you ever played a word association game? If I say to you “chocolate” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Word association games are something that I used to play all of the time. And as humans we tend to associate things with words all of the time. If I say to you “love” what do you think of? What if I say “God’s love”? Many of us associate the love of God with ideas and thoughts of human love. We may associate with with a really good feeling of human love, or we may associate it with a really bad feeling of human love depending on our personal experiences… but most of the time we think and behave and have ideas of the love of God really not being much different than the love of a human.
However I want to share with you the truth of the love of God. His love is far superior and much better than even the best love that any human can ever offer. His love is divine. His love is all-encompassing and His love never fails. Today in this study we will be exploring the Divine love of God and how it is so much better than the love of humans. And by seeing this love, you will be able to approach God with a new attitude, free from fear, free from uncertainty and free from the shifting-sand of human ideas and emotions.
Let’s begin today with Ephesians 3:16-19:
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
In verse 16 here what we see right from the start is that we are being granted something. This is not something earned by our work or effort, and this is also not something being measured by our own power or wealth. This thing is being granted (or given) to us according to this riches of His glory. So we know that it is being given generously according to the very glory of God. And as we continue the verse we see that what we are given is strength, but not just any strength… this is the kind of strength that comes by His Holy Spirit and it is given to us in our “inner man (that is our soul, our mind our emotions). And as verse 17 continues, we see the result of this, That Christ may dwell in your heart by faith.
Now don’t get tripped-up by this word “heart” here, because although the Greek word is kardia, from which we get our English word cardiac, the Greek word actually does not refer to your physical heart muscle, but again to your mind and your emotion. Just like when we say “you will always hold a place in my heart” we aren’t revering to our heart muscle that pumps blood, but we are referring to our mind, our thoughts and our emotions, and it’s the same idea here.
It’s interesting to note here also, how exactly Christ dwells in our heart… by faith. By the information of God to us, and it is not just any information, it is not just trivia about the Bible, not just any facts about God; but some very specific information: that you, being rooted and grounded in love… this is not mere human love being spoken of here, this is the love of God, and notice that we are to be rooted and grounded in this divine love of God, a very interesting choice of words! The word “rooted” means to establish deeply and firmly; like the roots of a tree going down deep into the ground. The word grounded means to be thoroughly instructed in so that you have a strong foundation. Combining these have are given the picture of being well-versed and instructed about the love of God and having that information secured deep in our soul where it cannot be moved or shaken. Take note that the Holy Spirit could’ve written anything here… The Holy Spirit could’ve said “be rooted and grounded in the Law of Moses”, The Holy Spirit could’ve said “That Christ may dwell in your heart by your works”, but the Spirit did not say any of that. It’s important to point that out so that we are very clear about how these things happen, it is by the Holy Spirit which strengthens your soul with information of Christ and His divine love – and that faith of His love going deep into your soul and securing you.
Now verses 18 and 19 show us how limitless His love really is: [that you] May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God. Notice that although we like to say that the love of God is incomprehensible, when it is the Holy Spirit strengthening you, you are able to comprehend the divine love of God… that is the very reason why the Spirit strengthens you, as we have just read in the previous verses. Not that we see the limits of His love, but rather we would see how vast and limitless it is! That we would see there are no limits to His love – and it is by seeing this, that allows us to be filled with all the fullness of God! Again it is not the Law that fills you with the fullness of God, it is by seeing His divine love for you!
Turn with me to Romans 8:33-35, as we explore this limitless aspect of His love even further:
“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies.
Who is he that comdemns? It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
These verses of scripture are not nearly read, taught or meditated on enough… look at verses 33 and 34. The questions are asked who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Yet today we have preachers condemning entire congregations of people from the very pulpits that God gave them so that they could feed His sheep, not beat them to death! The simple truth is that Christ has justified once and for all, everyone that is His. No-one has any right or power to condemn who Christ Jesus Himself has justified. Anyone who tries to condemn a child of God is doing the work of the enemy and should be wholly disregarded.
Then in verse 35 another question is asked: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? This is an important question because we like to think that quite a number of things can separate us from Christ. Believers live their entire lives thinking that they are in the love of Christ one moment and out of His love the next moment, as if God was as fickle as any human. Drop down to verses 38 and 39 of this same chapter, and see what the scriptures say about God’s love:
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
One thing that you will notice about these verses is that they don’t leave anything out. Death does not separate us from the love of God, nor does life itself separate us (which includes all the issues and factors of life). Angels, principalities and powers cannot separate us either. Which includes Satan and his evil forces. Nothing in this present life, nor in the future can separate us. And if you are here today, then your past didn’t separate you either. Height and depth, the very confines of this world itself cannot separate you from His love, nor any creature (this includes other people, as well as yourself!) also cannot separate you from His love…. And this love is only found in Christ Jesus our Lord! Not in any other place, nor in any other person. It is not found in any other person claiming to be a prophet, nor is it found in any other prophet themselves. Not Moses either.
In closing today, I want to share with you my personal testimony of the love of Christ, to give you a practical example of how vast and limitless it really is, because there are so many people out there putting limits on His love when there really are none.
I made a statement at the beginning of our study today that God’s Love is so much better than human love, and that is absolutely true. His love is not like human love. We believe that if we do good, we will receive good in return, and if we do bad, we will receive bad in return. I believed this in the past, that when I messed-up God would give me bad. I was so beaten down with condemnation and guilt and fear that I actually prayed for God to kill me for my sins, which was an absolute rejection of Jesus, because I was asking to be punished for my own sins. And when I was diagnosed with my terminal blood disease and cancer, I figured that was God’s granting of my request. So I hated God, I hated my life and I wanted nothing to do with Him. And yet, even in that pitiful state, and in that frame of mind – He reached out to me, and healed me spiritually, mentally and even physically. No-one can really do much worse than me because I was asking to die for my own sins rather than accept Jesus’ death in my place; but His love reached beyond my ignorance and guilt, and fear all the way down into my core and healed me from the inside-out.
King David from the Bible was called “a man after God’s own heart” and yet he committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband Uriah. Abraham was called a friend of God, yet he lied about his wife twice. Peter denied Jesus three times with cursing and swearing, but Jesus still called him the little rock, and restored their relationship. Paul when he was still called Saul, went around murdering believers in great numbers and doing it in the very name of God – yet God still used Paul to write the majority of the New Testament books of the Bible.
So I say this with all sincerity: God knows your entire life, and nothing you have done, are doing or will ever do will catch Him by surprise or make Him rethink His choice. He has chosen you to be one of His. He has called you out of the world, and He has revealed His Grace to you. He wants you to simply trust Him. It serves no purpose of good at all to worry about who you used to be, or to try and change things which you yourself cannot change. It is God doing the work inside of you, not yourself. He does not need your help, nor does He ask for it. He simply asks you to rest.
I understand the kind of mental gymnastics that guilt, worry and fear can put you through. And the only way out is by seeing the Grace of Jesus more completely and clearly. That’s the strengthening by the Spirit in your inner-man, your mind and your emotions.
The thinking that says “You have to do more”, “You have to atone for past sins”, “You are just using the Grace of God” all try to put the burden back on yourself and get you to focus on your own performance, instead of the perfect performance of Christ. It’s really no different than me trying to pay for my own sins. It all comes back to the basic foundation: Are you trusting in Christ and what He has done, or are you trusting in yourself and what you are trying to do?
God has never asked you to trust in yourself, or do anything other than believe on Him. That is all He asks; but man delights in complicating what God has made simple. Man wants to inject himself into God’s plan, where man has no part to play except to believe on Christ. Man wants to get up into heaven and be able to pat himself on the back and say “Praise Jesus, and myself because I helped!” but in reality, it is all of Christ and none of yourself, and the pride of man hates that simple fact.
The perfect divine love of God is able to look passed your humanity, your faults, and your failings. It does not wear out or grow tired, nor can it ever be taken away. This is the love of God for you. So rejoice in this, let it sink down deep into you soul that you may be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, and let no-one ever steal this truth from you. God loves you, perfectly, and nothing you can do will ever change that.