A Dominating, Overwhelming Love!

A Dominating, Overwhelming Love!

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

  • “The love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”

The apostle Paul recognized the value and blessings of the death of Christ as few others have, but what was true of him should be true of us. In this passage, Paul speaks of “the love of Christ.” It is difficult to know for sure whether the phrase is subjective genitive in the Greek (Christ’s love for us) or objective genitive (our love for Christ). Probably the apostle had the former in mind, although the latter cannot be ruled out. Both are true. Therefore, Paul said that Christ’s love for him “controlled” (NASB) or “compelled” (NIV) him in life. The term here is sunecho, meaning “to hold together, confine, secure, to hold fast” (Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words), to “shut up close” (Perschbacher, The New Analytical Greek Lexicon), or “to contain, compress” (Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon). Thayer says it means “to urge, impel” (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament), but M.R. Vincent differs somewhat. He says, “The idea is not urging or driving, but shutting up to one line and purpose, as in a narrow, walled road” (Word Studies in the New Testament).

From these considerations we can suggest that Paul is saying that this love was so overwhelming and dominating to him that it motivated his entire life and service. Christ demonstrated this love in its fullness by dying for our sins (cf. Eph. 5:25; 1 John 3:16). But Paul knew that Christ loved him personally and died for him personally (Gal. 2:20). Just as Christ laid down His life and rose to new life for us, so we are to lay down our lives for Him and live for Him!

This is an entirely new and revolutionary perspective to living. Those in the world live for themselves, live for sin, and live for this present evil age. Instead of continuing to live for ourselves, we must live for Christ! He is our motivation. He is our incentive. He is our goal. He is our life now and in the future. We live to please Him (2 Cor. 5:9), honor Him, glorify Him, and serve Him. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19) and He proved this by sacrificing His life for us (3:16). This indeed is a radically different but amazingly beautiful perspective in life—one that gives our life the firm basis and eternal significance that it needs. Does your love for Christ and Christ’s love for you so dominate your thinking and your life that all you do is influenced by it?

Richard Hollerman

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