Friday, March 12, 2010

Following a Train. (of thought)

In Ephesians 3:19 Paul is praying for the struggling little church at Ephesus, and he rounds out his prayer by praying that the Ephesians may be filled with all the fullness of God. It's an ambitious, and tricky little phrase, that most likely means "be filled with the same thing which fills God." Holiness. Perfection. Paul is praying that they become perfect.

I told you it was ambitious. But no more so than Jesus saying to his disciples, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt 5:48) Or the many places in scripture where God says "Be holy as I am holy." (Lev. 19:2; 1 Peter 1:16)

But what is even more astounding is the means that Paul mentions for attaining this goal. The way to be filled with the fullness of God is by knowing how much God loves you. It's true. Paul prays that you "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, in order that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

The proper end result of knowing the love of Christ is obedience. Christlikeness. Holiness. Can it really be this simple? The mysterious key to growing in my faith is simply to know how much God loves me?

What does this mean for me? It means that in my devotional time, my goal is to impress myself with the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. As a minister trying to motivate people, my great task is to show the love of God (not to use guilt, fear or shame). It means doing whatever I can to communicate this one simple truth: God loves you.

When I know how much God loves me, it stirs my heart to love God. And when I love God, I delight to walk with him.

And with few exceptions, the way the New Testament shows us the love of God is by pointing to the cross.

Romans 5:8 - "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son."

1 John 4:10 - "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."

If I follow Paul's train of thought correctly, he's saying that knowing the gospel is the one and only key to Christian obedience. This is huge.

1 comment:

mom said...

Great post Jeff. Oh that all our family understood God's love for them. I'm so proud of you.