Piper and Paul: Being Loved by Christ

Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of the world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.  John 13:1

John Piper, in a sermon, “Being Loved By Christ,”

I want us to think for a few minutes about being loved by Christ. I wish there were something I could say that would give you the sense of being loved by Christ that the apostle Paul had. Listen to the way he talked about being loved by Christ:

The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

His whole life was nothing but a daily experience of working out what it meant to be loved by the Son of God—what it meant moment by moment to bank on being loved by Jesus.

In another place he said,

The love of Christ constrains us. (2 Corinthians 5:14)

Being loved by Christ was the controlling force of his life. When he turned into any wrong way it was the love of Christ that constrained, held him back, and put him in the way of truth.

The most unshakable reality of his life was being loved by Jesus Christ. It was the granite foundation under a life of immense suffering. It made Paul utterly indestructible in his confidence toward God.

Who is to condemn us? (He asked) Christ Jesus is the one who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

When Paul met the miseries of life and felt himself threatened, like a lamb sent to the slaughter, he never used this misery as an argument that he was no longer loved by Christ. Instead, he threw the love of Christ back into the face of misery and said, “You cannot separate me from this massive love. In fact, this love with which I am loved by the Son of God will make me more than a conqueror in this distress!”

To be loved by Jesus Christ is literally an indescribable thing. It is deeper than any of us knows. And O how Paul wanted us to know the love of Christ the way he knew it! Do you remember how he prayed for us in Ephesians 3:18-19?

… that you might have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Paul virtually equated knowing the love of Christ with being filled with the fullness of God. Being loved by Christ means being full of God.