Christ's Constraining Love

September 01, 2018

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. (2 Cor 5:14-15)

The word translated ""control"" in this verse is a hard word to translate in one word, for it has a lot of meaning. I have, for many years, used the Wuest Expanded Translation. Kenneth Wuest, a Greek scholar, translates each word in the NT in its fullest expression, without any thought of form. Here's his translation of these verses. Notice, in the highlights, how he translates the single word “control.”

For the love which Christ has [for me] presses on me from all sides, holding me to one end and prohibiting me from considering any other, wrapping itself around me in tenderness, giving me an impelling motive, having brought me to this conclusion, namely, that One died on behalf of all, therefore all died, and that He also died on behalf of all in order that those who are living no longer are living for themselves but for the One who died on their behalf and instead of them, and was raised. (2 Cor 5:14-15, Wuest Expanded Translation)

For Paul, Christ's extreme and perfect unselfishness was the motivation for the same. Christ died for all ... and He did this for a purpose. ""So that"" we would no longer be in bondage to a self-centered, self-focused life.

THE PRISON OF SELFISHNESS

There is nothing so blinding and confining than a selfish life. A selfish man thinks of everything in terms of one person—what it will do for him, how it can advance him or please him, what people will think of him. The iron bars of self-centeredness wrap tightly  around him, confining him to the small world within.

When a man, liberated by the love of Christ, is set free from this self-absorption the world is opened to him. Now, his eyes lift up to God and he can spend his life exploring the limitless wonders of the Almighty, the beauty of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. He thinks of everything as to how it will please this majestic Three-in-One and advance God's kingdom.

And further, his heart is opened to a world of people around him. In so doing, the same love that compelled Christ, now compels him. He becomes the man who listens to you just because he loves you and wants the best for you. Who gives everything so you can be helped and advanced. Who deeply rejoices when you rejoice and is burdened when you are sorrowful. Who sincerely lives for God and those God has created. His life is filled with unceasing joy for helping others to Christ is an unceasing task. 

And this man—constrained by God's perfectly unselfish love—is the man with the deepest life who leaves the deepest mark.

 





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