«For the love of Christ controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised.» (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15, NET).
WHAT ARE THE ONLY CERTAINTIES IN LIFE? «Death and taxes,» many would say. If we could ask this same question to the apostle Paul, he would most likely tell us that the only sure thing in this life is the love of God, manifested in the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What happened in this apostle’s life for him to be converted from the fiercest persecutor of Christs followers to His most fervent preacher? At some point in his life, Saul of Tarsus came to understand that out of love for him, Christ had died on the cross, and that love simply took control of his heart.
Taking control? This is how the New English Translation translates todays text: «the love of Christ controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have died (v. 14). And it is not forcing the meaning because this is the implicit idea in «compel» (Greek sunech ): «to press from all sides , to hold together,» «to control,» «to urge.»
What the apostle is telling us, in other words, is that the incomparable love of Jesus Christ so invaded his heart that it literally «cornered him,» leaving him with virtually no choice. ‘What else could I do in the face of such a manifestation of God’s love?» he seems to be saying. No wonder he went so far as to say that all the things that were gain to him, he came to regard them as a loss, «for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ» (Philippians 3:8).
What were the gains for him? «Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews» (v. 5), But all this became «rubbish» on the day the Saviors love took hold of his heart.
Has Christ’s love taken a hold of your life? Has He «stolen» your heart? If this is the case, then you can no longer live as before. Now you must live for the glory’ of the One who died and was resurrected for you. Can there be a greater honor, a greater privilege?
Loving Jesus, as I meditate today on Your death on the cross, may Your love take complete hold of my heart and prompt me to live, not for my personal glory, but for the glory of Your holy name.