Have you ever had the dilemma of trying to buy a gift for someone who seems to have everything and wondered, “What do I get that person that he doesn’t already have or wouldn’t have already bought if he wanted?”
Well, what do you get for a God who can literally speak anything into existence?
The answer is you. The one thing God didn’t have that he was willing to go to the bloody cross of Calvary to obtain … was you.
The God who literally had everything and could wipe the board of creation and start over if he wanted set his love on you. He was willing to submit to the pain and humiliation of the cross just so you could be with him eternally.
Theologian Lesslie Newbigin says, “To create the heavens and the earth cost God nothing. But to save us cost him his very life.”
Isaiah 53 says Jesus looked from the cross and saw the future offspring his sacrifice would produce and was satisfied. In his hour of greatest trial, you were the Son of God’s living hope, and you get to share in that hope, enjoying the intensity of that love forever.
Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” (Ephesians 1:18 NIV).
He is saying, “When you see how precious you are to God, it will totally transform your life!”
Later, Paul prays a second time: “[I pray that you] may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19).
Paul does something here that’s pretty unusual for him: He loses his words. He is normally a pretty confident guy, but here he admits that the love of Christ surpasses his ability to even explain it.
“To create the heavens and the earth cost God nothing. But to save us cost him his very life.”
Just how long is God’s love? Paul explained earlier in his letter that it’s from all eternity and for all eternity. God chose us from before the foundation of the world, which means there has never been a time when God did not know about us and love us, and there will never be a time in the future when he will quit loving us.
How high is God’s love? David tells us it’s as high as the heavens are above the earth (Psalm 103). We know much more about that height than even David did. The Hubble telescope now sends back infrared images of faint galaxies 12 billion light-years away (one light year is 6 trillion miles). God’s love can’t even be contained in those numbers.
How wide is God’s love? It extends to control every molecule of the universe, marshalling everything in pursuit of his good purpose in our lives. There is not one stray atom, electron, or quark in all the galaxies!
How deep is God’s love? So deep he’d reach all the way down into the filth of sin and the grave of death to make a wretch his treasure. He literally became sin and death for us, dying in our place so we didn’t have to.
Paul wants us to feel the length, height, width, and depth of God’s love that even he, an inspired Apostle, cannot fully describe. It’s the kind of love you cannot explain; you can only experience it.
And only when you experience God’s love will he become real to you. Only then will you know God’s presence as you are filled with the “fullness of God.”
God doesn’t become real through some weird confluence of circumstances, through dreams or visions, though a voice in your heart or a fuzzy feeling in your gut.
God becomes real when your eyes are enlightened to see how great his love is for you.
For more, be sure to listen to the entire message here.