The Love of Christ Controls Us

2 Corinthians 5:11-15 ESV

“Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 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.”

The Fear of the Lord

If we fear God we respect, honor, reverence, worship, and obey him. This means that we take him and his word to heart. We do not take God lightly nor do we see him as some magical genie in the sky there to grant our every request. We do not overlook him nor regard him as someone who does everything for us while nothing of us is required in return.

We love him with our whole being. We want to do what pleases him. We want to serve him with our lives because we love him and because we are grateful for all that he has done for us. And worship of God (of Jesus Christ) is giving ourselves to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world (Rom 12:1-2).

And when we truly know the fear of the Lord, not intellectually, but in all practicality, as is being applied to our daily lives, then we want to persuade others to know him, too. We want to see people genuinely saved from their sins and walking in freedom from addiction (bondage, slavery) to sin and living to please the Lord and being at total peace with God.

Our hearts’ desire is to also see the church spiritually revived, for so much of the church, at least here in America, has gone the way of the world and they are marketing the church to the world via altering the gatherings of the church to appeal to the desires of the people of the world. Thus, they have also altered the gospel message to make it more appeasing to human flesh and to make it less offensive to the ungodly who are living in sin.

So, we are being called of God to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness and all the deceptions and manipulations of truth being passed off as truth in today’s modern market-driven “churches.” And we are called of God to proclaim the truth of the gospel and to turn hearts from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God so that they can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Jesus (Ac 26:16-18).

And we do this because we love God and because we love the people of this world and we love our fellow believers in Jesus and those whose faith is surface level only. We want to see all of them walk in freedom from addiction (slavery, bondage) to sin and to serve the Lord Jesus the rest of their days walking in purity of devotion to him in holiness.

Opposition

When we walk in the fear of the Lord, and our lives are surrendered to Jesus Christ, and we are daily dying with Christ to sin and living to Christ and to his righteousness in the power of God, and when we are exposing the lies of the enemy and we are proclaiming the truth of the gospel (the whole counsel of God) we are going to be opposed.

And there may be times when we will be called upon to give a defense for who we are and for why we do what we do and for the gospel, for the gospel of Jesus Christ and its messengers are under severe assault right now, and not just by the world, but also by the worldly and flesh-driven “churches” of today which are businesses of men and not the true church.

So, in order to preserve the truth of the gospel in the hearts of other humans we may be called upon to not only stand up for the truth of the gospel but for ourselves and for why we do what we do. For, Paul faced the same thing, and if they could discredit him, then they could discredit the message of the gospel that he was teaching.

We all need to be prepared to give a defense for the true gospel message for it is being discredited by those who are altering it to make it more acceptable to human flesh. They are calling it “works-based salvation” which is to be avoided, and its messengers they are calling “self-righteous,” “prideful,” “intolerant,” “hateful,” and teachers of “works-based salvation.”

Or else they are saying that we are being negative and that we need to have more positive sounding messages, messages which tickle itching ears with feel-good thoughts and notions that do not offend people or make them feel uncomfortable. For the big push right now is for us all to “stay in your lane” and to not offend anyone with the truth.

The Love of Christ

But if we are those who are sharing the gospel of Christ in its fulness and who are exposing the lies of the enemy, and for the same reasons as did Paul, and with the same heart motivation, then we are also doing so because we love Jesus. We love God. And it is the love of Christ which controls us and which motivates us and which empowers us to do his will.

For, Jesus Christ did not die on that cross just to forgive us our sins and just to free us from the punishment of sin so that we can go to heaven when we die. He died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And he died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who for our sake died and was raised from the dead.

For his grace, which brings salvation, is not freedom to now continue living in deliberate and habitual sin only now without guilt or fear of punishment. His grace instructs (trains, teaches) us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return (Titus 2:11-14; cf. Lu 9:23-26; Eph 4:17-24).

Also, if we ignore what Jesus said and what Paul taught, and if we cherry pick the Scriptures which make us feel good about ourselves while we ignore the Scriptures which confront us in our sins and which call us to repentance and to obedience of faith in Christ, and so we continue living in sin, we must know that the Scriptures say we will not inherit eternal life.

[Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Eph 2:8-10]

Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful

Keith Green

Oh Lord, you’re beautiful,
Your face is all I seek,
For when your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me.

I want to take your word and shine it all around.
But first help me just to live it Lord.
And when I’m doing well, help me to never seek a crown.
For my reward is giving glory to you.

Oh Lord, please light the fire,
That once burned bright and clear.
Replace the lamp of my first love,
That burns with Holy fear.

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3 thoughts on “The Love of Christ Controls Us

  1. The “good news” may not be a “feel good” message for everyone, but it is much more positive than a lot of people think. Sure, Christians are called to “crucify the flesh” and give up the sin that makes them feel good. But the promise is, God replaces those things with BETTER things.
    I like to rephrase the “thou shalt nots” with “you don’t need to.” (Example: “You don’t need to cover what your neighbor has, because Jesus satisfies.”)

    Liked by 1 person

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