Every once in a while, something happens in our lives that unearths emotions and leads us to question God’s love for us. We wonder if God truly loves us and if He is as good as He claimed in Scripture.
The apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:16-17 prayed 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.”
How vast is God’s love? Can it actually be measured? While Paul seemed to imply that it was possible, he also said that the love of Christ surpasses knowledge. Paul understood perfectly well that we will never fully understand the depths of God’s love for us on this side of heaven. While this is true, as Dr Lloyd-Jones puts it, “we still have a duty and responsibility to look at this description as much as we can about it, and to receive as much of it as we can possibly contain.” Let us then consider each dimension of God’s love for us.
The breadth of God’s love – This dimension relates to the comprehensiveness of God’s love. Paul in Galatians 3:28 proclaimed, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. Salvation is offered to both Jews and Gentiles. The ultimate cause of the failure of the Jews was that they never grasped this particular dimension. They thought that salvation was only for the Jews. When Christ returns, we will behold a great multitude of the saints from every nation, tribe, people and tongues worshipping before the throne and before the Lamb (Revelation 7:9).
The length of God’s love–This dimension relates to God’s endless love that has run the length of time throughout all ages. Love began in eternity. Scripture informs us that our salvation was not by chance. “For those whom he fore knew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29a). God knew of our existence and our names even before we were born into this world! Dr Lloyd-Jones puts it succinctly: “What a dignity it adds to human life, and to our existence in this world, to know that He has set His heart upon us, that His affections rested upon us even in eternity! That is the beginning –if such a term is possible –of the length of His love towards us. Before time!”
The depth of God’s love–“O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:25-26). God loves us the way He loves Jesus. His love shows greater and deeper when we remember that there was nothing in us to call forth such love. In fact, we were God’s enemies. And yet, “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
The height of God’s love–This dimension indicates the reach of His love, which extends as high as the heavens. In Dr Lloyd-Jones’s words, “Most of us tend to think of salvation only in terms of forgiveness, as if the love of Christ only purchases for us the forgiveness of our sins. Anyone who stops at that has clearly never known anything about the height of the love of Christ.” Jesus’ death not only purchased us the forgiveness of our sins, it also gave us new birth and made us into God’s children, partakers of the promise and joint heirs with Christ (Ephesians 3:6). And having raised us up with Christ, God unites us with His Spirit. Jesus is not satisfied with just purchasing our forgiveness, but also wants us to be with Him in eternity to see His Glory. “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).
Dear reader, God’s love for us never fails despite our failings and doubts. May we rest on the assurance that Christ has already made us His own (Philippians 3:12) and no one can snatch us from the Father’s hand (John 10:29).
Reference: Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “The Dimensions of God’s Love”, retrieved from www.monergism.com/dimensions-god’s-love-ephesians-318-19
– Dn Sim Chow Meng