By Bill Risinger
At the close of the Parent-Child Dedication Service last Sunday, we prayed Ephesians 3:18-19 over the children. “I pray that these children, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses all understanding, that they may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Suddenly the words to a hymn, that is one of Mrs. Charlotte Hutchison’s favorite, came to my mind.
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.1
This song, like many others, helps us to remember the central, yet sometimes overlooked, quality of God’s nature – His love. More than a simple concept or an incidental occurrence, God’s eternal love is fundamentally central in gaining a correct understanding of God’s fullness.
In relation to this, the Apostle John declared in his first letter that “God is love.” Although this appears only in 1 John 4:8 and 16, it does summarize a prevalent biblical theme. For instance, God is depicted in the Psalms as “abounding in love.” Jeremiah declared to the Israelites, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” And God’s love comes to its fullest expression in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Many passages attest to the fact that the giving of God’s Son is the greatest manifestation of God’s love. For example, Paul declared, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Likewise, “for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.”
In light of this truth, what should our response be as believers? To have even a partial understanding of God’s love should evoke in us a passion to know God and to draw near to Him. In declaring that “God is love,” John stated what our responsibility in light of this revelation should be. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
As we experience His overflowing love, we will in turn desire to make this love known to others. This love will be revealed in both word and deed. True faith is made known through one’s actions, not only one’s words. Remember that we did not deserve God’s love, but His desire for relationship with us initiated and provided the means whereby this undeserving love could be made known to us and experienced by us.
Now Mrs. Charlotte’s favorite verse of The Love of God is verse 3. She told me she has always desired to be a writer so the metaphor of God writing His love really speaks to her. I think verse 3 sums up what I’ve been trying to get at with this blog:
Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky
I pray that we all would give our lives to knowing God’s love which is truly measureless “so that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
1 “The Love of God” by Frederick M. Lehman