14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
Day 2 - The Love of God
While most of the focus in 2 Corinthians 5 turns towards the verses that follow this passage, the fact is that those verses begin with several "therefore's" that point back to what Paul states in these verses above. Before one can begin with new creation and the ministry of reconciliation, they have to begin with the fact that Jesus came, died, and was resurrected unto eternal life for the forgiveness of sins. For Paul this had two significant implications.
First, in the death of Jesus all of humanity was crucified. This does not mean that all are granted eternal life, but in his death Jesus died for all. Secondly, the death of Jesus was not simply to bring death to humanity, but to bring life through living for the one who was raised on our behalf. Now that this has been made known in Christ and is recognized, the love of Christ is to reign in the hearts of men.
It is this love manifest in Christ that controls the aim and intent of Paul's existence. Literally this is the binding element that holds together Paul's life and causes him to act as he does, in total pursuit of the Gospel and the impartation of the life and promises within it.
The death of Jesus holds within it the invitation to live. The life that it cultivates and calls forth is not the life of self-seeking consumption and personal gratification. It is the life of living for the sake of another, specifically the one that Paul now recognizes that life in, the one who died for all, Jesus the Christ. This is to be the binding element that holds together and controls us as well.
Jesus came to bring life that is deeply satisfying, full of purpose and born out of the love of God. I often experience doubts in my ability to love God and to love others but am encouraged to know that God delights even in the smallest desire to love others that flickers in our hearts. If we seek God with all our hearts and abide in Him he will turn this flicker into a blazing fire of love that can transform our families, communities, and cities.
Spend some time reflecting on those God has placed in your life that desperately need the love of God. Ask God to show you how you can ‘grab hold of their hand’ and lead them to God’s loving embrace.
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen
-The Book of Common Prayer, 101