I’m beginning to understand that my love for Christ is not radical. Selling belongings and following Christ, fasting, reading the Bible, praying, giving the best and the first of my income back to God, memorizing the Word of God, living in community with the body of Christ–the church, learning new languages to communicate with more people about Jesus, going into foreign countries to share God’s love…none of these efforts are radical.
Here’s what’s radical: that Christ loved us so much that He gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2). That if it weren’t for Jesus Christ, we would be without hope and without God in the world. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace we have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5). It’s radical love that caused the Father to give his one and only Son into the world to take the penalty of all our sin through death on a cross, so that whoever believes in Him will be saved (John 3:16). What’s radical is that those who believe in Christ Jesus by faith are redeemed through His blood that He shed on the cross and that through His blood we have a righteousness that brings us into relationship with God the Father (Romans 3:22-24). That through Jesus, we are heirs of the Father, members of God’s household — children of God –, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:6). It’s radical that when we believe in Jesus, we are marked with the seal of God — God Himself living in us through His Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). And all this grace and love was shown toward us when we didn’t love God or believe in Him and when we were under the lordship of Satan, dwelling in sin’s camp (1 Timothy 1:15-16).
So no, my love for Christ is not radical. It’s God’s love for me that is so radical, so awesome, so gracious, so beyond knowledge. The way I live is simply a response to His great love.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:14-21).