Sunday night, Bob joked about me assigning him a small topic – the love of God. A couple of things need to be said. First, in my defense, I laid out the topics and dates, he picked the date. Not my fault Bob! Second, he’s absolutely right – God’s love is so vast and beyond us the topic is immense, and daunting. Paul speaks of it as being unknowable. Listen to what he says in Ephesians 3…
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith — that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” ESV
To me, this is incredible. What gets me is this: look at verses 18-19 again. Paul is asking that out of the riches of God’s glory, he would give us strength to comprehend his love, the vastness of it. He is asking that God would give us strength to know the love of Christ “that surpasses knowledge”. In other words, on my interpretation, we need an experience of God’s love – him strengthening us – to know God’s love. Apart from his showing us his love in strengthening us know it, his love in Christ would be unknowable.
I needed to hear Bob’s message on Sunday night to be reminded of someing that sounds so simple, and yet is one of the most shocking and perplexing things – God loves me. Not with a warm, fuzzy, sentimental love. But with a fierce, faithful, saving, strong love – a love that will not let me go, a love that surrounds me and hems me in, a love that pursued me, a love that died for me, in fact, a love that sent his Son to die for me.
There is a story about a man named Karl Barth that I love. Dr. Barth was one of the most brilliant and complex intellectuals of the twentieth century. He wrote volume after massive volume on the meaning of life and faith. A reporter once asked Dr. Barth if he could summarize what he had said in all those volumes. Dr. Barth thought for a moment and then said: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”