“…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith — that you, being rooted and grounded in love, …” (Ephesians 3.17 ESV)
One of Paul’s concerns is that the believers at Ephesus need to know, and we at Grace also need – not just with an intellectual knowledge, but a knowledge of experience that is continually pushed and tested – the truth that we as believers need to be rooted and anchored in God’s love. Our knowledge of God’s love – supplied by Him, rooted in Him, grounded upon His love – is necessary if we are to get anywhere in our Christian walk.
An aspect of our Christian lives is that we have been called out of the ruined mass of humanity and placed in God’s covenant family, the Church. Not just the Church universal, but in the local congregation as well. In our case, at Grace. If you haven’t noticed, our congregation is made up of sinners: Every. Single. One. Of. Us. We have not loved the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We haven’t loved our neighbours as ourselves. We are not being or doing what God requires. We do what God forbids.
Our knowledge of God’s love – supplied by Him, rooted in Him, grounded upon His love – is necessary if we are to get anywhere in our Christian walk.
We are those sinners, we pray, who have believed upon Christ as He is offered in the gospel, who by the grace of God know the forgiveness of our sins, who are walking by faith and putting sin to death daily. But sinners still. We will have to deal with sinners (and others will have to deal with us!) that let us down, sinners that betray us, sinners that wound us, sinners that hurt us, sinners that disappoint us, sinners that do real sins against us. We will have that to contend with until He comes again!
So how do we contend with sinners? We are called to love sinners. Even as Jesus loved sinners that let Him down, He calls us to love. That is the measure of our love. We are to love those at Grace and He knows that none of us has the power to do that in and of oneself. Only the power of God can root us and ground us in the love of God so that we can love like God.
Only the power of God can root us and ground us in the love of God so that we can love like God.
I am asked at times what ideas, what plans, I might have for getting Grace Church noticed. The best advertisement is this: that to gain a positive notice, a hearing from our culture, is that you and I need to have a life that has been established and anchored in the love of God. The witness that the world will notice is how we love one another. If we don’t have love for one another, it is all for naught. Every cent spent will have been lost if there is not love for Christ and one another in us.
And just as the Apostle Paul prays for the Ephesian Christians, know that I’m praying that your life and mine will be so rooted and grounded in the love of God that we will be able to love with Christ’s love, that our lives would manifest His forgiving love toward sinners in the way we relate to one another. And in that love’s manifestation, Christ will be honoured and the world around us will notice.
– John Butler