2 Corinthians 5:14-15. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
What controls your life? Something does. Every single one of us has a driving force behind all that we do. What’s yours? What is the primary influence of your choices and actions? What makes you do what you do? What thoughts dominate your day dreams? What beliefs determine the course of your life?
For Paul it was love. The love of Christ controls us.
Controlled by love. What a beautiful sentiment. Who doesn’t want their life to be controlled by the love of Jesus? But what exactly does that mean? What is the love of Christ? And what is our love for Christ? Don’t worry Paul will give us an answer. And the answer is found in Christ’s union with us and our union with Christ (of course). Look at what he says next:
One has died for all, therefore all have died.
Wait. How did ALL die?
Likely what Paul means is that when Jesus, in his incarnation, united himself to all humanity, and then went to the cross for us all, he died in the place of every person – therefore, all have died.
There is no greater love than this! This is divine love on full display. Jesus Christ left behind the glories of the Father’s presence, took upon himself the form of a servant, and walked the path of suffering even to the cross. Why? Because the love of God controlled him. He took every single person’s sin, and guilt, and shame upon himself, offering his forgiveness and his own righteousness to all humanity. Even his enemies. Even those who would despise him. Even you. Even me.
Are you moment by moment beholding this greatest of unconditional loves? Does it dominate your thinking? Your choosing? Your feelings?
And then Paul adds this:
He died for all that those who live no longer live for themselves, but for him.
Let’s be clear here – Jesus’ death for all and Paul’s statement that all died, does not mean that all live. Here Paul makes it clear that only some live. Who? Those who have chosen to no longer live for themselves. Those who have given up the self-life and have received the life of Christ into their own lives. Those who are in Christ.
And here now is Christ in us – we no longer live for ourselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
To be controlled by Christ’s great love for us is to live for Christ. The love of Christ is now what moves, rules, and determines our lives. His love for us is our beginning and our end. Our source of life and the goal of our lives. Christ’s love is life.
This is because love is the greatest power at work in the universe. To know that you are accepted and received. To know and experience forgiveness. To have someone be for you and never against you. A love so great it would give itself for you both in dying and in living. Nothing is more powerful.
Let me ask again, does this love control you? Maybe you have been resisting the controlling love of Christ. Maybe you just want to be free.
But you will always be controlled by love. Everything you think, and do, and feel will be for the love of something, or someone. Usually yourself. But the love of Christ is far greater than the love of anything or anybody else. In Christ, we submit to the greatest lover of all time. The one who provides everything our hearts need, and the one who satisfies everything our hearts desire. All other loves come to an end. All other loves fail. But not Christ’s. His love has no boundaries. No deadlines. No conditions. No prenuptial. No divorce. No break up. No cheating.
“To live is Christ” is to both be loved by Christ (he died for all) and to love Christ (we live for him). It is to let Christ control you so that you no longer have to live for yourself. It is giving up control of your own life, and replacing it with the controlling force of God’s pure and powerful love for you.
We simply weren’t made to live for ourselves. We were created to image God and his self-sacrificing love. So why not exchange the lesser “lover” of your soul that will never love you back perfectly for the greatest of lovers, Christ Jesus, who will always love you, and always love you to perfection? The one lover who will teach you how to truly love. Loving by living for others. Loving by dying to self.
Are you controlled by the love of Christ? Can you see evidence of this in your life?
You in Christ
How can you behold the love of Christ for you today (and every day)?
Christ in you
What is one specific way you can live for Christ by loving others today?
Extended Playlist: God’s Love.
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