And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.
In form, but not in idea, the text is paradoxical. There is certainly a high and precious sense in which it is the privilege and the calling of the children of God to attain to a conscious apprehension of spiritual things in a form and by processes that lie beyond the range of the natural understanding. It is this for which the apostle here prays.
I. CERTAIN THINGS AS TO WHICH THE LOVE OF CHRIST PASSES KNOWLEDGE.
1. Respecting its originating causes. We love whatever seems lovely to us, either because of the possession of amiable qualities and attributes of character, or because of the existence of certain recognized relations to ourselves that call for our affections. Beyond these conditions, and independent of them, we are incapable of conceiving how the affection of love can come into existence or exercise; and yet it is very certain that in our case these conditions were not found in us towards God. While men were yet sinners, enemies, hateful and haters of God, the Divine love moved forth guided by heavenly wisdom, and sustained by the Divine omnipotence, to redeem and save and exalt to glory the ruined offspring of a fallen ancestry. All this entirely "passeth knowledge."
2. In respect to this degree, as seen in its operations, the Divine love to man passes knowledge.
3. The love of Christ passes knowledge in respect to its long suffering. As it began without any worthiness on our part, so it is continued towards us despite our disobedience and ingratitude.
4. In the bounty of its provisions (1 Corinthians 2:9).
II. CERTAIN THINGS AS TO WHICH THE LOVE OF CHRIST MAY BE KNOWN.
1. We may know the love of Christ as a great truth revealed in the Scriptures.
2. The gospel, which is the manifestation of the love of Christ, may be known as a grand remedial scheme and dispensation of the grace of God.
3. We may know the love of Christ by the experience of His saving power.
4. We may know the love of Christ by His conquest of sin in us.
5. We may know the love of Christ by the victory which He gives us over death.
(D. Curry, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.