September 6th, 2022 – Later Tuesday Afternoon
“For the love of Christ controls us…” ~2 Corinthians 5:14a
Do you know how much you are loved? Do you understand the love of God for you? Even more specifically, do you know the love of Christ that passes knowledge?
Our initial answers to these three questions might be “Yes, yes, and yes!”, but it is a good idea to pause and contemplate before we make a rash statement. Why would I say such a thing in regard to something so wonderful and clear as the love of God for us? The reason is because of our passage today and what it means for those of us who claim to know the love of God in Christ.
“For the love of Christ…” What is the love of Christ? What does it entail? The Greek word translated “love” in this passage (the word known as “agape”) carries with it the meaning of “affection, goodwill, love, and benevolence”. The love of Christ is an affectionate, loving, deeply-seated, benevolent love that has been displayed through the cross of Calvary; this manifestation of the love of God towards undeserving sinners came in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Christ’s love for His “friends” (John 15:13) led Him to die on their account, but it didn’t end at the cross; rather, it is the enduring love of Christ (Romans 8:35) that enables believers to be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19) and it is this love that believers are called into by Him (John 15:9).
This brings us to the second part of this phrase: “…controls us…” The Greek word translated “controls” is a bit of a complex word that is multi-faceted. That being said, all of the facets of the word have to do with holding together, compressing, constraining, etc. In the specific use in our passage today, the meaning has to do with urging or impelling the soul; thus, it is the love of Christ which urges or impels the souls of Paul & Timothy, the writers of 2 Corinthians. It is as though they were so powerfully captivated by His love that they could not escape its grip or influence. Given the surrounding context and theme of this section of God’s Word, it is clear that this impulsion is not reserved for a select few of the children of God; rather, as we will hopefully see in more detail in the next devotional, the love of Christ is the impelling force in the life of every true believer.
So…turning my questions at the beginning of this devotional around in a way… Does your life reflect the controlling, impelling love of Christ? Are you and I held together by and urged along by the deep, intimate affection of our Savior and Master? Are we filled up with the fullness of God through the intense familiarity with the love the passes knowledge?
My brethren, are you and I compelled and controlled by the love of Christ? Don’t brush this aside as a basic question or give it a thoughtless answer; we are all compelled and controlled by something and if it isn’t the love of Christ, then what is it?
Father, thank You for Your love and the love of Christ! Help me to know it and respond to it all the more as each moment passes!