20th December 2020
“The love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” Ephesians 3:19
That eminent saint, the Apostle Paul, who had been in the third heaven, and there saw glorious sights, and heard unspeakable words, though he exhausted human language to set forth the surpassing excellency of the love of Christ, comes at last to this point: “It passeth knowledge.” Indeed it must pass knowledge. Is it not infinite? What measure, then, can be assigned to the love of Christ? If Christ be God, and as such the equal of the Father, his love is as infinite as Deity. Our love is the love of the creature; the love of God is as great as Deity, as infinite as the self-existent I Am; it must needs therefore pass knowledge. You may wonder sometimes—and it is a wonder that will fill heaven itself with anthems of eternal praise—how such a glorious Jesus as this can ever look down from heaven upon such crawling reptiles, on such worms of earth,—what is more, upon such sinners who have provoked him over and over again by their misdeeds. Yes, that this exalted Christ, in the height of his glory, can look down from heaven his dwelling-place on such poor, miserable, wretched creatures as we, this is the mystery that fills angels with astonishment. But it is the glory of Christ thus to love; it is his special glory to take his saints to heaven, that they might be witnesses of his glory and partakers of it. Therefore, it is not because we are such crawling reptiles, that we are such undeserving creatures, that we are so utterly unworthy of the least notice from him, we are to put away all this matchless love from us, and say, “Can Christ love one like me? Can the glorious Son of God from heaven his dwelling-place cast an eye of pity and compassion, love and tenderness upon one like me, who can scarcely at times bear with myself; who see and feel myself one of the vilest of the vile, and the worst of the worst? Oh, what must I be in the sight of the glorious Son of God?” And yet, he says, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” This love has breadths, and lengths, and depths, and heights unknown. Its breadth exceeds all human span; its length outvies all creature line; its depth surpasses all finite measurement; and its height excels even angelic computation.
Now this is the very reason why this love is so adapted to us. We want a love like this; a love to spread itself over us, to come down to our lowest depths; a love that can land us safe in heaven. A love short of this would be no love at all. We should exhaust it by our sins if this love were not what it is here represented. Long ago we should have out-sinned this love, and drained it dry by our ingratitude, rebellion, and misdoing. But because it is what it is, love so wondrous, so deep, so long, so broad, so high; it is because it is what it is that it is so suitable to every want and woe.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869