It is one thing to talk about how much we need God to save us. It is quite another to talk about how much He wants to save us.
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.2 Corinthians 5:14-15
My need may be big, but the need I understand. We don’t act like we have been created to act. We sin. We don’t think like we have been created to think. We lust, covet, hate, etc. In other words, we sin. We don’t love like we have been created to love. We ignore God, blame God, and generally devalue God. We sin. No wonder Jesus had to die! We have an incredible need. A need that I do not have the facility to overcome. I don’t have the ability to change my nature. I certainly cannot change the past and undo my wrong. I need someone to make it right! It is impossible for me to do it. I need Jesus.
Yet, the second question is even bigger. Why? Why does God want to save me? Why does He want to take my sin upon Himself in Jesus? Why does He want to trade Himself for me? It can’t be my goodness. I have none. It can’t be my great brains, abilities, or strength because He doesn’t need any of it. It can’t be that I add anything that He lacks because He lacks nothing! That is the definition of what it means to be God. He has no lack in His person, perfection, power, or glory. I can add (especially in my sinfulness) nothing to Him. So, I am left with the question: why?
This is what Paul, Peter, John, and the other followers of Jesus understood as well. There is nothing we bring to God that would win Him over to save us. Instead, there is simply something in Him that does it. He loves. He loves us. It isn’t an earned love (like the beginning of a romantic relationship). It isn’t a needy love (like a lonely person who reaches out to others). No, God’s love is an intentional love. It is who He is. And, it is a sacrificial love. His love is willing, not because we deserve it but because He chooses to shine His love on us, to sacrifice even Himself for us. We can’t say, “Of course He loves us, look at the cool people He gets.” Instead, it is absolutely astounding that He would love us. So, Paul says, “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
I notice that word ‘compel’. It speaks of an act that so affects someone that it forces a response. We usually mean coerce when we use the word compel. We use it with things like shackles, rope, and handcuffs. Yet, at other times we use the word ‘compel’ to talk about actions that just bring out a response that we cannot control without denying who we are (like crying at weddings or cheering when our team scores a touchdown). This is the ‘compel’ that we see here. Paul was so moved by what God had done for him in Jesus that he was compelled to now live for Jesus. What a glorious love that would lead such a One to die to make us alive! What type of love is this? Has it moved you too? There is no better time to think of it than right now. May we think deeply about it and never miss its glory…
Something to think about,