“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to know how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19). If you put the words wide and long together we see the horizontal love of Jesus Christ for us. If we put the words high and deep together we see the vertical love of Jesus Christ for us. And if we put the horizontal and the vertical together we have got the Cross, and it’s in the Cross that we see the love of Jesus Christ manifested in that He gave Himself for us. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Words like “I love you” are so easily said, that many times they’re taken for granted. But what if God were to audibly tell you “I love you?” Would you listen? Would you believe Him? What would it take for Him to win your love? A new car? A new home? The promise of security? A future without failure? The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were looking for someone to come and deliver them from the problems they faced. They had a conditional view of Messiah, and Jesus met none of their conditions. They wanted power and recognition, freedom from restraint, and the ability to choose whatever they wanted. In rejecting Jesus Christ they didn’t get deliverance from the Roman government, and weren’t delivered from their sorrows.
The physical makeup of the world has changed considerably since Jesus walked on this earth, but in many ways the spiritual and emotional climate remains the same as that of Jesus’ day. People are still desiring these same worldly things today, when in actuality, what they really need is a Savior. Without Jesus, there’s no peace, no satisfaction, and no hope for tomorrow. Most of all, there’s no way for sinful man to be reconciled with a Holy God. His death on Calvary’s Cross satisfied God’s demand for every sin of those who trust in Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Henry Thiessen writes: “The thought is something like this. At first God and man stood face to face with each other in perfect harmony. In sinning, Adam turned his back upon God . . . Christ’s death has satisfied the demands of God and now God has again turned His face toward man. It remains for man to turn around and face God. Since God has been reconciled by the death of his Son, man is now entreated to be reconciled to God.” “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19-20).
Paul wrote to the Romans, “At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8). It was the eternal purpose of God, even before He created the heavens and the earth, to demonstrate His supreme love to humanity. He demonstrated His love to us and proved it in one supreme action, and that’s in the offering of His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Whenever God wants to assure humanity of His love He always points to the Cross, it was there that God’s love was manifested for us. I can look at the Cross and I can know that He loves me!
Satan and his demonic horde are constantly trying to get us to challenge God’s love for us by the problems that come into our lives. Telling us in our minds that if God really loves us then why is He allowing all these problems to come into our life; why did God allow these things to happen? But whenever we’re prone to doubt God’s love for us, all we have to do is look at the Cross, and there our hearts are assured that God loves us supremely. “This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
It wasn’t our goodness that caused God to give us a way to spend eternity with Him—it was God’s love that did it all! The Bible says, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:3-7).
The psalmist wrote, “O God, we meditate on your unfailing love” (Psalm 48:9). Paul acknowledges that God’s love is beyond the human intellect, but if we will meditate on God’s love, by the power of the Holy Spirit we can begin to comprehend the greatness of God’s love for us. “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all” (Romans 8:31-32). Eternity with God, or with Satan in the lake of fire, it’s our choice. “God is love” (1 John 4:8).