And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.
I. AN INTERESTING SUBJECT. It is the "love of Christ." The love of Christ would furnish us with a thousand sources of reflection; but we shall confine ourselves to one view of it only. It is the incomprehensibility of this love. He tells us it "passeth knowledge."
1. Witness the number of its objects. It is but a few that the bounty of a human benefactor reaches and relieves. We pity an individual. We take up a family. We explore a neighbourhood. The liberality of a Thornton flows in various channels, through different parts of a country. The compassion of a Howard visits the miserable in other lands, after weeping over the dungeoned victims of his own. But a "multitude, which no man can number, out of every nation, and people, and tongue, and kindred," will forever adore the riches of the Redeemer's love.
2. Witness the value of its benefits.
3. Witness the unworthiness of the partakers.
4. Witness the expensiveness of its sacrifices. The only quality in the love of many is its cheapness. It will endure no kind of self-denial.
5. Witness the perpetuity of its attachment. How rare is a friend that loveth at all times! How many fail, especially in the day of trouble!
6. Witness the tenderness of its regards.
II. Here is A DESIRABLE ATTAINMENT. It is to know it. But does not the apostle say, that this love "passeth knowledge"? How then does he pray that we may know it? Can we know that which is unknowable? I answer, we may know that in one respect which we cannot know in another; we may know that by grace which we cannot know by nature; we may know that, in the reality of its existence, which we cannot know in the mode; we may know that, in the effects, which we cannot know in the cause; we may know that in its uses, which we cannot know in its nature; we may know that increasingly, which we cannot know perfectly. We therefore observe, with reference to your knowledge of this love —
1. Your ideas of it may be clear and consistent.
2. Your views of it may be more confidential and appropriating. Your doubts and fears, with regard to your own interest in it, may yield to hope; and that hope may become the full assurance of hope.
3. Your views of it may be more impressive, more influential.
III. This leads us to remark, A BLESSED CONSEQUENCE: "That ye may be filled with all the fulness of God." If we consider man in his natural state, he is empty of God; if in his glorified state, he is full of God, or, as the apostle says, "God is all in all"; but, in his gracious state, he has a degree of both of his original emptiness and his final plenitude. He is not what he was; neither is he what he will be. His state is neither night nor day; but dawn: the darkness is going off, and the splendour is coming on.
Parallel VersesKJV: And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.