ISSUE: 2017, Volume 14, Issue 4
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It would be impossible to exhaust a subject as vast as ‘The Love of Christ’ by writing a series of books, let alone a small article. What this may do, however, is fuel a desire that should be within all believers, to learn more of our Saviour.
It is precious to see how scripture provides evidence so frequently of the acts of the Lord Jesus which reflect His devotion to His Father and to others. We see His compassion for the desperate woman with the issue of blood. We see His sympathy over the death of Lazarus. Not to mention the ultimate display of love in His sacrificial death on the cross.
The question must be asked as to why we only read this expression three times? One would think it would be mentioned as constantly as the love of God is. The short answer is, we do not know. What we do know is that the Holy Spirit chose to reveal this only to the apostle Paul for inclusion in his Epistles. In all three instances the love mentioned is the noun agape. This word is used over 100 times in the New Testament. If we include its verb counterpart then it appears well over 200 times. Love is unquestionably one of the key truths of the Bible. W. E. Vine1 says in his dictionary, ‘Love had its perfect expression among men in the Lord Jesus Christ’.
‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?', Rom. 8. 35
The letter to the Romans when viewed as a courtroom scene sees Paul preach a compelling case to the church concerning the things of Christ. The eighth chapter is a chapter of great encouragement to the believer.
From the fall, mankind has known nothing but separation from God. Since Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden of Eden to the countless sacrifices of the Old Testament, mankind has not been in close communion with God. Hebrews chapter 10 verses 10 and 12 teach us that ‘we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all . . . but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God’. The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus brought those who trust Him into fellowship and communion with God.
Our communion with God through His Son is symbolized by the events surrounding the crucifixion. For instance, ‘the veil of the temple was rent in twain’. The veil had separated the priest from access to the Holy of Holies for generations. Access is now possible into the holiest, the presence of God, which historically had only been available to the high priest once a year on the Day of Atonement. The Old Covenant has now been done away with, 2 Cor. 3. 11; Heb. 8. 7, 13.
Can a believer be separated from the love of Christ? David despaired at the thought that God’s Spirit would leave him as it did Saul, both fears were because of sin. David exclaimed as he penned Psalm 51, ‘Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me’. As Paul asks the question, ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?’, he proposes seven things that potentially could; yet through Christ we are ‘conquerors’, v. 37 Paul concludes confidently that not even death, the first of ten things listed, can separate us from the divine love bestowed upon us by a Holy God; a love which is ‘in Christ Jesus our Lord’. This verse confirms the confidence that the believer enjoys in respect of salvation; it is eternal and irreversible. John reminds us of the words of the Lord Jesus in John chapter 10 verses 27 and 28 that no one can be plucked out of His hand.
What a glorious truth!
To be continued
1 Love (Noun and Verb) – Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words Volume 2.