Ephesians 1:3-4. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… In love.
We spend a lot of time in this blog talking about Christ and our union with him. But let us pause today to be reminded once again that everything that we have in Christ flows from the love of God the Father. The love of God is the source and motivation for all of our spiritual blessings in the heavenly places. God is love. There is no love apart from God and God does nothing apart from love.
Have you ever been in love? I was doing some premarital counseling the other day and the groom to be said that he had never really been in love before so the feelings he had were so new and strange and yet exciting. And then he said something like “It made me think ‘Is this how God feels about me’?”
In love is God’s position. He is in love with you. With me. With us. Everything he does he does from his great and perfect commitment to us. Because he loves us everything he allows will ultimately be for our good.
Ephesians begins with this incredible doctrine of our union with Christ. A doctrine that we could center a whole blog around (wink wink). But without the love of God there is no Jesus Messiah. No IN CHRIST. No spiritual blessings in heavenly places. No election. No adoption. No salvation. No eternal life. No being filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19. 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
And this is the whole point of this letter, that because God loves us he is moving us toward an end. And that end is Christ. It is God himself. His presence. So God’s love is not mere sentimentality, it is power. Power to move us into the fullness of God.
Despite all of this it’s so easy for us to struggle with the love of God isn’t it? Often we merge it with the performancism that we talked about yesterday. God loves us when we perform. When we get it right. When we love him first.
Or we qualify God’s love. Is God’s love reckless (Cory Asbury’s hit song “Reckless Love” has been played on Spotify over 77 million times. 97 million on YouTube. Whether God’s love is “reckless” or not is up for debate I guess. But obviously people want to believe that God loves them)?
Or maybe it’s something like “I know God loves me but I doubt that he likes me.” We see God as having a job to do that we often just get in the way of. Like a dad who pays the bills and puts food on the table but never really plays catch with you in the backyard. He “loves” his family by doing his job. We see God as something like Troy in Fences who bluntly explains to his son Cory “I ain’t got to like you.”
Warning: strong language. Is this how you see God?
Or maybe it’s “God is love so he has to love me.” Like he doesn’t have a choice. His love is just another character trait like being tall or smart. It’s just a theological point. It’s not personal.
But God doesn’t love us because he has to, or because it’s simply his job, or even (don’t miss this) because he looks past us and sees Jesus (as if he only really loves Jesus not you).
“To live is Christ” means God loves YOU. He delights in you. He can’t wait to live with you forever. He laughs at your jokes. He collects your tears in a bottle. His heart breaks when yours breaks. He cheers when you win. He hugs you when you fall down. He sings over you. He brags about you. He thinks about you constantly. And unlike Troy he likes you too.
“To live is Christ” is to be in God’s love. And that’s the best place to be.