Dr. John Hartmann

Proclaiming the Whole Counsel of God

Dr. John Hartmann header image 2
Cialis online

The Love of Christ Controls Us

September 11th, 2011 · No Comments

Texts: Acts 9:10-20; 2 Cor 5:14-21; Rom 7:4

The story of the apostle Paul/Saul of Tarsus is one of the most dramatic examples of radical conversion and role reversal in human history. The man so fully devoted to destroying the church of God was changed to become the chief witness of Jesus Christ. What happened to bring this about?

Paul’s own repeated explanation is that he saw the once-crucified and now risen and exalted Jesus with his own eyes (1 Cor 9:1; 15:8), and was “apprehended by Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:12).

Paul could say that he lived as he lived and did what he did because the love of Christ “constrains” him (2 Cor 5:14-15). This love so guided his course that he could live as one who becomes all things to all men that he might save some (1 Cor 9:19-23), ruling over his bodily passions and appetites so that he might attain to the great prize, running the race with endurance, fighting the good fight with purpose and aim (1 Cor 9:24-27).

Our teacher spends a good bit of time breaking down the syntax of 2 Cor 5:14. We here find that the word translated “control” or “constrain” in 2 Cor 5:14 (which refers to the action of the subject, “the love of Christ”) actually means “to compress, or hem in”. Whether Paul means Christ’s love for us (subjective genitive) or our love for Christ (objective genitive, Christ as the object of our love), either way, this love of Christ becomes that driving force by which we are apprehended and which governs what we do in a life of service poured out for God.

Paul thus makes this judgment about what actually occurred in Christ’s Cross-Work: one died for all, and therefore all died. Christ’s death is not only a Substitutionary work, in which He bears the penalty of sin in our place, which, of course, He did. Here Paul makes known that he understands Jesus’ death as the work of a Representative, Who takes the sum total of the fallen creation in Adam and crucifies it to the tree. This means that those who are in Him participate in that death. If He died for all, then all who are in Him died as well, to all that pertains to the fallen creation, which includes the reign of sin, the oppressing influence of the powers of darkness, and the world-system that is the polar opposite of the love of the Father.

Participation in Christ’s death means also participation in the newness of life that flows from His resurrection. Paul makes this clear in Romans 6:3-5: those who are baptized into His death are also raised to walk in newness of life; if they participate in His death, then so likewise they participate in His resurrection life. This is underlined in Rom 7:4 and again in Eph 2:1-10 and Col 2:12-13.

So what do we do with all of this? Five things:

  1. Make knowing our participation with Christ in death and resurrection the focus of our prayers. Ephesians 1:17-19; 3:16-21; Col 1:9-11; Phil 1:9-11
  2. Seek heavenly things, not things of the earth Col 3:1-4; Rom 6:1-23; 12:1-21; Eph 4-6.
  3. Lose our life for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel Mark 8:34-38
  4. Become all things to all men and self-disciplined for the cause of the Gospel 1 Cor 9:19-27
  5. Embrace co-heir suffering with Christ Rom 8:17-39; Phil 3:8-10; Phil 1:27-30; 1 Pet 4:12-14; Rev 12-14

Tags: Sermons

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

You must log in to post a comment.