Ephesians 3:18, 19
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
The true science for saints is "Christ's love."
I. CONSIDER THIS LOVE AS REPRESENTED IN THE PASSAGE as to length, breadth, height, and depth.
1. These dimensions seem to imply infinity. It has been suggested that the apostle speaks as if standing in a center, himself the object of this love, enveloped by an atmosphere of love which stretches away illimitably above, beneath, around. He prays that all saints may stand, as it were, in the focus of the same enveloping love. What is that which has thus its center wherever a saint is to be found? The center of infinite space is wherever we stand; for we carry this center with us, no matter where we go. So it is with the infinite love of Christ, which surrounds the saints with its vast and limitless expanse. Each saint ought to feel that he is in the very center of that love, as if the sole object of its guiding, purifying, comforting care. Human affection has it's limits, for it cannot lavish its richest treasures upon several beings at the same time. Not so the heart of Jesus, which has room for millions upon millions of saints.
2. But the love of Christ way be seen in its pre-eminence from the standpoint of time. Not only does he love millions, but there is a wonderful duration in his affection for us. We think gratefully of the parental affection that shone upon our life before any time that our memory can recall, and long before we were conscious of its existence. We value most the friendships that have lasted longest. But what is all earthly love to the everlasting love of Christ, which had us in his heart ages before our birth, and had a kingdom prepared for us before the foundation of the world? But his love is as lasting as it is ancient. Human affection often fails through misunderstandings, collisions of interests, variations of pursuit, so that there is often a painful sense of uncertainty as to the future; but even that affection can hardly fallow us, as to any real succor or comfort, throughout the unknown life that awaits us beyond the grave. There is One, however, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever; on the continuance of whose love we can securely count in time and throughout eternity. If he love us now, he will love us to the end. What, then, shall separate us from such a love?
3. But this love might be regarded from another standpoint : think of its intensity. We measure its intensity by its sacrifices, its sufferings, its burdens; yet we must remember that there was more than a mere human sensibility beating in the heart of Christ. He plants himself in the very heart of this world's ingratitude and rebellion and unbelief, exposed to all its hatred, revenge, impurity, profanity; and dies for this very world, "the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God."
II. IT IS A LOVE DESIGNED TO BE THE OBJECT ALIKE OF COMPREHENSION AND OF KNOWLEDGE. The apostle prays that the Ephesian saints may comprehend the dimensions of it and "know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." There is a difference between the two terms. We do not want simply to know about Christ's love, of which the absolute understanding is beyond our reach, but to know it, to realize it as a possession of our own, to have an experimental knowledge of its preciousness. Such love may be darkness to the intellect, but it is sunshine to the heart; too marvelous for us to comprehend, but not too rich for us to enjoy. "In a word, to know the love of Christ - it is might in weakness; it is patience in tribulation; it is strength for living; it is hope in dying; it is heaven brought clown to earth; it is heaven dwelling within the soul."
III. THE GRAND PURPOSE AND RESULT OF THIS REALIZED LOVE. "That ye may be filled with all the fullness of God."
1. The fullness of God is the tidiness which God possesses, and therefore incapable of being contracted to the dimensions of a human heart. Yet that fullness - the plenitude of the Divine perfection, which is said to dwell in Christ bodily - is the very measure unto which we are to he filled. We are to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect; we are to come "to the perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;" we are actually predestinated to be conformed to the image of that Son of God who is the Brightness of the Father's glory, and the express Image of his person.
2. We are to be filled unto that fullness. The apostle does not say that we shall reach it in this life, or that, if we reach it in the life beyond, the distance between God and us will not still be less than infinite. Plunge an empty vessel into the ocean, it is filled out of and filled with the fullness of the waters that surround it on every side. That empty vessel is our soul. It can take in the fullness of God in its own measure of self-containment. The comparison, to be more exact, demands that the vessel in question should be of expansible material, like a sponge, which, lying withered upon the rock, becomes larger and larger as it is sunk in the deep, till it is merged in the very fullness of the sea. Thus our dry and withered souls, filled with the love of Christ, expand gradually into the very fullness of God.
3. Effects of this filling unto God's fullness. One is that, with a well so full and overflowing, our vessels need never be empty. You may ask too little; you cannot ask too much: for the very fullness of God is ever flowing into you. You cannot exhaust it by any frequency of resort to it. Study ever more and more the love of Christ, which, like an arch, stands all the firmer from every additional stone with which it is weighted. Another effect is that, in proportion as you are being filled with God's fullness, there is loss room in the heart for sin, or fear, or doubt, or pain. The fullness, like the perfect love, "casteth out fear." As in an exhausted receiver, the more the air is drawn off the more firmly will the machine clasp the surface upon which it stands, so the more that guilt and fen; are drawn off from the believer's heart, the more will it cleave to the almighty strength on which it rests. Let our hearts rejoice, therefore, in the fullness of God. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;