This past Sunday, we finished a sermon series on the book of Ephesians. What a sweet journey through that section of God's Word it has been! I look forward to watching the Lord use it and bear fruit from it.
To begin next year, we will do a 7-part blog series looking at each of the individual pieces of the "whole armor of God" from Ephesians 6. But I think it is appropriate to finish off this blog series with Paul's final greeting to the Ephesians churches, as it has significant relevance for us today.
The final two verses of Ephesians go like this: "Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible" (Ephesians 6:23-24 ESV).
Three times in these final two verses Paul uses the word "love." He obviously wants to get across the fact that Christians are to be marked by love. Specifically, Paul speaks of a love for Christ. Essentially, he begins to "tie a bow" on everything he has written in the letter. The motivation for having a right view of the Gospel and for walking in obedience to the Gospel is that we have a love for Jesus.
Christian, how would you describe your Christianity? Would you say that you try to be a good person? Would you say that you go to church? Would you say that you try to keep the Bible’s commands? Or would you say that you genuinely have a love for the Lord and Savior of your soul, King Jesus? Do you love Jesus or just what you think He can give you? All of those things are not bad endeavors in and of themselves but divorced from a passionate love for Christ they are mere religious endeavors in order to gain something from God. Love for Jesus should be the motivation for anything we do.
Not only do Christians have a love for Jesus, but Paul describes what kind of love it is: an incorruptible one!
“Love incorruptible.” Some translations say “undying” love. Others say “in sincerity.” The word seems to communicate all of those things. But it is not just about time (an eternal love), but also about strength (an immortal love, unable to be taken away or destroyed). In fact, this word is used in other places in Scripture and is often translated as “imperishable” or “immortal.” A definition for the word “incorruptible” might be “unable to experience deterioration; lacking the very capacity to decay” (HELPS Word-studies).
If that is indeed the case, where does the source of this incorruptibility come from? Do we have to somehow muster up the strength to love Jesus so that we can have an incorruptible love? As with faith, the point is not the strength of love, but the object of it. Our love for Christ is incorruptible because Christ is incorruptible. This is true of every facet of the Christian life.
Do we realize the great love with which God has loved us? When we do, we will inevitably love Him back, with a "love incorruptible." Do we love Christ like that? If not, ask the Lord to grow your love for Himself. Do things that stir your affection for Jesus. And remind yourself that, because of Christ's work on your behalf, your love for Him is incorruptible!
I'll end with the final words of Charles Hodge's commentary on Ephesians:
“Love to Christ includes adoring admiration of his person, desire for his presence, zeal for his glory, and devotion to his service. It need not be ecstatic, but it must be controlling.”