Monday, October 11, 2010

THE DEPTH OF GOD'S LOVE

Paul said of God’s love: It passes all knowledge. It is broad, wide, high and deep. I want to focus on the depth of his love.

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith: that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height: and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:17-20).

Recently I’ve been receiving emails from backslidden Christians who are coming back to their first love. One wrote, “I was forgiven; I loved the Lord. But I lived for years in awful sin. Now I am back, but I can’t accept my forgiveness. I fear God can’t forgive me the unspeakable sins in my past—awful sins. I have no peace. I can’t feel the Lord’s presence.” Another wrote, “I’ve sinned such horrible sins. I want to get back to Jesus but I feel God despises me. I sinned against light. I’m afraid I’ll not be forgiven. I am one of the worst sinners.”

Backsliders are being stirred. Many are coming back. They are tired of falling into drugs, alcohol, lusts; tired of the world. I hear this, “I fell so deep into immorality, so deep into gross sins.” It is as if they believe God has a line—a limit to his love and mercy—as if there is a point where he says, “You provoked me too often. You rejected all my pleas—all my warnings. But now you have crossed a line. Your heart is cold. Satan has a stronghold in your heart.” I believe many backsliders are too embarrassed or too convinced that they have sinned away their day of grace. They can’t conceive the Lord reaching down in the depths of their sinful condition with love and mercy.

Jonah sinned greatly, running from God’s commission. His disobedience would put the blood of many on his hands. In the belly of the whale, God was there in the deepest depth of his sin and rebellion. (See Jonah 2) Jonah believed God had forsaken him for his sin. “You have cast me into the deep…I am cast out of your sight…I went down to the bottom…the depth closed me round about…my soul fainted in me” (Jonah 2:3-7). When he went down to the bottom—into the lowest depth—he got a fresh touch, a special calling. He was forgiven and delivered. This proves the Holy Ghost is at work down in the depth of our sin. No one is too far gone; no one is cast off. The Holy Spirit is dealing with many, saying, “Repent. I am at your rock-bottom situation to bring you back.”

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing! “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 37-39).

The blood of Jesus reaches into the depths of sin, offering freedom, pardon, mercy and reconciliation with the Father. No matter how deep you have fallen, the love and forgiveness goes deeper.

Oh, the depth of his love!