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Pastor's Piece - The Dimensions of God's Love

by Dr Barry Wright

The Dimensions of God's Love

Love is often defined in our dictionaries as a warm affection, an attachment, or a liking or fondness for another person. However, in the Scriptures the Apostle Paul takes this to a new level as he endeavours to describe the love of God and the love that Christians are to show to one another.

Paul in Ephesians 3: 16-21 is praying for believers everywhere when he says:

'I pray that out of His glorious riches our heavenly Father will strengthen you with power through the Holy Spirit so that Jesus Christ will continue to live in your hearts by faith and that you will be rooted and grounded in His love. I also pray that you and all believers will more fully understand the breadth and length and depth and height of the love of God. I also pray that you will experience the love of Christ which is beyond human comprehension, until your hearts overflow with love and gratitude to Him. To God, who is able to do immeasurably far beyond what we can ask or imagine, and who wants to do even more for us by His power in our lives, to Him be glory in the church and in Jesus Christ throughout all generations for ever and ever. Amen.'

Love that is 'rooted' goes down deep into the soil of the soul, engaging all the faculties of the mind while love that is 'grounded' becomes the firm foundation on which all of our relationships exist. There is no argument against love of this kind, for there is nothing greater than that love which springs from our relationship with Jesus (Nichol, 1957: 1018).

God revealed His immeasurable love to mankind through His Son. This was to be a love that was wide enough to encompass the whole universe, deep enough to include every level of human experience, long enough to span the eternities, and high enough to include both God and man in its grasp.

Paul's all encompassing affirmation emphatically declares that the love of God extends beyond the farthest reaches of human understanding, but even so, our finite minds can still grasp a limited amount of His all-embracing regard for humankind. Paul prays that we may know the unknowable. Today, we need to recognise that the Lord does not send us away as beggars with an empty dish, but fills it to overflowing.

This love was not only expressed at the cross, but was to find its way into the everyday relationships between a man and his God. For those who can eventually comprehend this love it becomes a security that will be invincible. This love will become more fully known when we realise that there is One who shares our joys and sorrows and is sensitive to all of our anxieties and dreams. It will come about when we understand that there is a purpose in life beyond the mere physical aspects of our earthly existence. It will also come about when we recognize our value to a God who is concerned about our temporal and eternal future.

We need to remember that no man is outside the love of Christ and no place is beyond its reach (Barclay, 1976: 133).

The following poem by F. W. Faber continues this thought by suggesting that:

There's a wideness in God's mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There's a kindness in His justice
Which is more than liberty.

For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man's mind,
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word,
And our lives would all be sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.'

Just as with trees we need to be rooted and grounded in this love and the test will come when the storms of strife push against us. If our roots are shallow the winds will do their damage, but if we have strong spiritual roots we can overcome. It is Jesus dwelling in the soul that gives us the spiritual power that Paul talks about when he says that we may be 'filled with all the fullness of God'.

We need to take enough time to learn of Him and place Him above all the interests that this world has to offer so that we may have the power that works within us. If we do this, Paul is saying in Eph 3: 20 that God can do immeasurably more for us than we would ask or imagine.

It is my prayer today, that we may all come to know this wonderful boundless and limitless love that will continue into eternity.



Barclay, W.   (1976)   The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians. The Daily Study Bible Series. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.

Nichols, F. D.   (1957)   The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol 6. Washington DC: Review & Herald Publishing Association

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