For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints 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 3:14-19 (ESV)
In Paul’s second prayer for the Ephesians he prayed that they, as well as us, (all the saints) would comprehend (possess, to take eagerly, seize) the love of Christ. We cannot begin to eagerly posses the love of Christ if we have not experienced it. Though God extended his love toward us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-6), his love is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit at conversion (Romans 5:5). This enables us to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. Not only his love for us, but also the love he himself possesses.
Is Paul being somewhat contradictory? He prays that the saints would know the love of Christ, but says that the love of Christ surpasses knowledge (v19). How can we know something that we can’t understand? It seems that Paul is praying that we would know as much of the love of Christ as is possible for us to know. We will probably never fully understand the love Christ possesses. How can we fully understand why God would choose to become a man and allow his creation to hang him on a cross? Though our understanding is limited the bible does give us a glimpse of this kind of love.
Paul’s prayer that we would know the breadth, length, height and depth expresses the vastness of Christ’s love. The breadth of Christ’s love is realized in the free offer of salvation to both the Gentiles and the Jews (Romans 1:16, 2:10) and eternal life to all who believe in him (John 3:16). The length of Christ’s love can be seen in that he chose us before the foundation of the world, in eternity past (Ephesians 1:4-5) and it will last for eternity future (Psalm 103:17). The height of Christ’s love is expressed in that he has seated us with him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) and nothing can reach high enough to snatch us from his hand (John 10:28). The depth of Christ’s love can be realized in that it can reach down to those who are dead in sins, make them alive and save them to the uttermost (Ephesians 2:5; Hebrews 7:25).
Christ’s love for us and the love Christ possesses are far reaching. Paul wrote, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 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, 38-39 ESV)
Have you given thought to the love that Christ possesses? Has his love been poured into your heart?
Scriptures for meditation:
Romans 5:6-8; 8:32