For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:14-21
I grew up in a town next to the Mississippi River. It is long, and wide. Deep enough for large barges to traverse (but not as deep as the The Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench located in the Pacific Ocean). It is long: the fourth longest river in the world. The widest part of the Mississippi can be found at Lake Winnibigoshish near Bena, MN, where it is wider than 11 miles.
Paul speaks here of the breadth, length, height, and depth of God’s love. Think of it this way:
God’s love is broad. You can see how wide a river is by noticing how much it covers over. God’s river of love is so wide that it covers over my sin, and it covers over every circumstance of my life, so that all things work together for good. When I doubt His forgiveness or His providence, I am narrowing the mighty river of God’s love. His love is as wide as the world: For God so loved the world (John 3:16). [Enduring Word Commentary, as also below]
When considering the length of God’s love, ask yourself, “When did the love of God start towards me? How long will it continue?” These truths measure the length of God’s love. Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). [Enduring Word Commentary]
Philippians 2:7-8 tell us how deep the love of Jesus goes: but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. You can’t go lower than the death of the cross, and that is how deep the love of Jesus is for us. [Enduring Word Commentary]
To see the height of God’s love, ask yourself, “How high does it lift me?” It lifts me to heavenly places where I am seated with Christ. He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). [Enduring Word Commentary]
In summary God’s love is…
- Wide enough to embrace every sinner. Jesus died for the sins of the world.
- Long enough to span eternity: from everlasting to everlasting is God’s love.
- Deep enough to reach into the heart of the most wayward sinner.
- High enough to lift me to the eternal joy of the life of the world to come.
We comprehend this only by faith. That we will consider tomorrow.