Controlled by Love

The apostle Paul makes the connection between our supernatural capacity to love and the New Covenant work of Christ in the book of II Corinthians.  “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died” (II Cor 5:14).  How in the world is part A of this verse, “The love of Christ controls us” connected to part B, “One died for all, therefore all died”?  This verse is essentially Romans chapter 6 in a nutshell.

“All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death.  Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we to might walk in newness of life.  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Rom 6:3-6).

When you embraced the gospel message of Jesus Christ, you were joined with Christ.  Our old man, our sin nature, died and was buried with Christ.  Our new man, our new nature, was raised anew with Christ, not just in a positional way, but in a practical way as well; walking in the “newness” of Christ’s resurrection life.  Unlike the old man, a slave to sin, our new man is free from the overpowering control of sin.  So what controls us now?

“The love of Christ controls us.”  We are back to II Corinthians 5:14.  Because Christ died – and we died through Him (II Cor 5:14b) – we are no longer controlled by sin.  We are no longer controlled by our own self-interest.  We are now controlled, motivated, ruled by love.  Paul says as much in the next verse, “And He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (II Cor 5:15).  By joining Christ in His death and resurrection, our motivation by self-interest has died and has been replaced by love.

Please think through this connection between our motivation to love and Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  The capacity, ability, and desire to love as God loves is not something we have to work hard to attain, some far off goal to aspire to.  It is already in you!  It is a gift given to us at our new birth and remains in us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  “The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom 5:5).

Remember, fruit is the natural outcome of a healthy tree and love is the natural outcome of a life indwelt by the Spirit.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23).  May your fruit spring forth and produce in abundance today.

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