If there is one thing this blog emphasizes, it is love. This is because the bedrock of Christianity is love…since God is love.
The scripture says by their fruits we shall know them (Matt. 7:16). An apple tree is identified by the fruits it produces. Jesus Christ, just before His ascension told the disciples (and us) that the way people would know that we belong to Him is by our love for one another (John 13:35). A Christian that has not been established in love, is yet to bear the fruit that identifies him with Christ. Even when we read through Galatians 5:22-23, we see that of all the fruit of the spirit mentioned, love came first…signifying its importance. The 10 commandments can be simplified into two: love your neighbour as yourself and love God. When we live in love, it becomes harder to fall into sin, for love covers a multitude of sin.
What really is this knowledge of the love of Christ?
This could be two ways: the knowledge of the love He has for you and the knowledge of how we ought to love like Him.
The key to understanding this portion of scripture is that the author doesn’t pray for a mere head knowledge of the love of Christ, but an experiential one. Although we can never fully grasp the vastness of God’s love, it is highly beneficial that we do what we can.
The knowledge of how we ought to love like Him.
Having the knowledge of the love of Christ also helps us love the way Christ loves. Jesus Christ, while on earth, was a man full of wisdom, compassion, power, and more importantly, love. When we know of God’s love by experiential knowledge, we find it easier to replicate it.
Coming into the knowledge that Jesus’ love is regardless of ethnicity, status, background, race, gender, or whatever the case may be, would make it natural to us (by the power of the Holy Spirit strengthening our inner man) to love regardless of all these things. (Romans 5:5)
The advancement of the kingdom rests on the ability of the church to love like Christ: to love one another, love even the unbelievers, and of course, love God. We will not abandon our duty to preach the gospel when we love unbelievers. When we love God, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). When we love one another, the unity of the Holy Spirit will grow in the body of Christ.
By this, we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 1 John 3:16
The knowledge of the love He has for you
Apostle Paul prays for the church at Ephesus that they would come into the knowledge of the length, depth, width, and height of God’s love (Eph. 3:18). When we realize we are loved –with an endless love, a love longer than our very own existence, a love so deep that it is rooted in God Himself, a love wide enough to graft in even the worst of sinners into His perfect plan, a love so high, it seats us in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus and distances us from hell below –it makes us want to serve God even better. What would make a believer to still keep flourishing in sin is ignorance of the love of God. (Rom 13:10)
One key thing Satan uses to discourage Christians is the lie that they aren’t loved. But the gospel is clear that God has loved us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). And not just is this love everlasting, it is also unfailing (Psalm 36:7). Even when we fail and fall short, God’s love is there to pick us up. But when we lack the knowledge of God’s love, we would easily subject ourselves to condemnation and throw pity parties for our problems. Peter was able to get back on his feet because he knew his master loved him. John would always boast of the love Jesus had for him, and he remained a strong apostle for Christ until the very end.
No father gives his son a stone for bread or a serpent for eggs and even the birds of the air are so well taken care of. How much more we whom God loved so dearly that He gave His only begotten Son for? Your challenges would begin to look less challenging when you bask yourself in God’s love. (Matthew 6:26-27; 7: 9-11)
To know the love of God, you must have experienced it, and to experience God’s love, you must have come to the cross. This is because the knowledge of God’s love can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit only works with those who have been saved (1 Cor. 2:10; John 14:17). Secondly, the love of God is revealed in the sacrifice of Jesus. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8 NIV. Not until you come to terms with this, you wouldn’t get that experiential knowledge of God’s love.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”1 Cor. 13:13