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Romans 8:35-39


If someone performs an act of love toward you, there are four ways that you can see the depth
of that love.

1. The Costliness of the Deed

One is by the costliness of the deed. How much inconvenience or sacrifice did it cost the one
who loved you? The greater the sacrifice, the deeper the love. If it cost an afternoon of time
and sweat, it is one degree of love. If it cost his life, it is another degree of love.

2. How Undeserving the Object of Love Is

A second way to see the depth of love is by the how undeserving you are of the act of love.
Jesus said,

If you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the
same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the
Gentiles do the same? (Matthew 5:46–47)

In other words the depth of our love is shown not just in the measure of our sacrifice but in
whether we will give it to people who don't return it—and who may not deserve it at all. The
love that overwhelms us is the love that comes to us authentically from those we have deeply

3. The Greatness of the Benefit Secured

A third way to see the depth of love is by the greatness of the benefit that comes to us by the
act of love. If a person claims to love us with sacrifice, but we are not really helped by their
love, we might begin to wonder if this kind of love really means anything. Love is not just
making a sacrifice. Love is making a contribution to someone's life—at least that's the intention.
And the greater the gift, the more amazing the love. John wrote,

See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of
God. (1 John 3:1)

The greatness of God's love is seen in the incredible benefit of being made children of God.

4. The Freedom of the Act

Finally, we see the depth of love which someone shows to us by how free the act of love is. If,
for ten or fifteen years, I tell my son to get his brother a birthday present, and even sometimes
buy it for him so he'll have something to give, that is one degree of love between brothers. But
if, in his first year away from home at age nineteen, he calls, without a reminder from his
parents, the week before his brother's birthday and tells me he knows of a store where there is
a special knife sharpener his little brother really wants, and asks me to take the money from his
account and buy it for him, then love is manifest in a whole new way.

Jesus has loved us in all these ways to a degree that is beyond human comprehension. Last
week we saw the depth of his love for us in the degree of his sacrifice—he gave his life for us,
and what a life it was to give! Today we will see the depth of his love—especially his Father's
love—in how undeserving we were to receive it.

The aim in these messages is to sink the roots of our lives into the ground of God's love that
has no bottom, so that we will be firm and unshakable, and so that we will have the nutriments
of God's very love flowing in the branches of our lives to bear the costly and beautiful fruit of
love for each other to eat.

1. The Depth of Christ's Love: Its Cost

Ephesian 5:1-2

An Illustration of Costly Love

Sometimes we are so familiar with spectacular it doesn't move us as it should. We have to look
at something lesser, be amazed, and then look back to really feel the wonder of the original.
Chuck Colson told the story of a group of American prisoners of war during the Second World
War, who were made to do hard labor in a prison camp. Each had a shovel and would dig all
day, then come in and give an account of his tool in the evening. One evening 20 prisoners
were lined up by the guard and the shovels were counted. The guard counted nineteen shovels
and turned in rage on the 20 prisoners demanding to know which one did not bring his shovel
back. No one responded. The guard took out his gun and said that he would shoot five men if
the guilty prisoner did not step forward. After a moment of tense silence, a 19-year-old
soldier—the age of my Ben—stepped forward with his head bowed down. The guard grabbed
him, took him to the side and shot him in the head, and turned to warn the others that they
better be more careful than he was. When he left, the men counted the shovels and there were
20. The guard had miscounted. And the boy had given his life for his friends.

Can you imagine the emotions that must have filled their hearts as they knelt down over his
body? In the five or ten seconds of silence, the boy had weighed his whole future in the
balance—a future wife, an education, a new truck, children, a career, fishing with his dad—and
he chose death so that others might live. Jesus said in John 15:13, ""Greater love has no one
than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." To love is to choose suffering for the sake
of another.
An Infinitely More Costly Love

Jesus has loved you this way. Only, O so much more! Consider the life he laid down. One of the
reasons that story hits us so hard is because the boy was 19 years old. If he had been 89 years
old and the others 19, we might say it was a beautiful act of love, but with a full life behind him
it would not feel like the same kind of sacrifice as when your whole life stretches in front of you.
So consider the life that Jesus sacrificed for you.

1. Jesus Was Young

First of all, he was young too. He was about 33 years old. His ministry was three years old. He
was cut off, as we say, before his prime.

2. He Was the Oldest Son of a Widowed Mother

Second, he was the oldest son of a widowed mother. One of the last acts of his life was to see
that she be taken care of.

When Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His
mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" (John

The life he was giving up for you was young and, from a human standpoint, it was a life needed
by his mother.

3. He Was Sinless and Perfect, the Most Worthy of Living

Third, he was the most kind and caring and wise and courageous man who ever lived. Peter
testified, "He committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth" (1 Peter 2:22). Even his
enemies knew they could find no fault in him (Matthew 22:16) "I find no guilt in him," Pilate
said (John 19:6). So the life he gave for us was no ordinary life of human value—which would
be great enough. It was a sinless life. A life of perfectly balanced joy and sorrow, tenderness
and toughness, justice and mercy, grief and anger, speech and silence, prayer and action. This
life, of all the lives that have ever lived, was the most valuable life. The most worthy of living,
the least worthy of dying. This is the life he gave for you—that you might live.

4. He Was the Son of God

Fourth, he was the Son of God. Which means he was God as well as man. United to his human
nature was a divine nature, in the mysterious unity of one person. The dignity and worth of this
life was not just relatively superior to other human lives. This life was of infinite value—not the
way other humans are of value, but the way God is of infinite value, namely, as the basis of all
human value. Humans have value to the degree that we reflect the image of God. But that
means that if the image has so much value because of the original, how much more value must
belong to the original? With this life Jesus went to the cross for you. This is how much it cost to
cover our sins against the holiness of God. And he paid it willingly so we could live.

5. He Was Supremely Loved by His Father

Fifth, as the Son of God Jesus was supremely loved by his Father in heaven. "This is
My loved Son," the Father said, "with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" (Matthew 17:5).
Suppose that 19-year-old prisoner of war was the son of the President of the United States—
and he knew that there were powers available to him to escape not only the death he died but
also the prison camp—and suppose that you find out that his father, the President, not only had
a massive love for the boy, but also approved of his dying for you, and wanted to meet those of
you for whom he died, and give you some of the boy's inheritance. Would not the worth of that
life be so unspeakably precious as to make you feel absolutely overwhelmed with love?

Consider Also What the Sacrifice Involved

And consider now not only the life that Jesus sacrificed for us, but consider also what the
sacrifice involved. To get to the point where he could die, Jesus had to plan for it. He left the
glory of heaven and took on human nature so that he could hunger and get weary and in the
end suffer and die. The incarnation was the preparation of nerve endings for the nails of the
cross. Jesus needed a broad human back for a place to be scourged. He needed a brow and
skull as a place for the thorns. He needed cheeks for Judas' kiss and soldiers' spit. He needed
hands and feet for spikes. He needed a side as a place for the sword to pierce. And he needed
a brain and a spinal cord, with no vinegar and no gall, so that he could feel the entire
excruciating death—for you.

The 19-year-old boy was a wonderful picture of love. But compared to Jesus he was only a
picture. His death was quick and relatively painless. Jesus' death was one of the worst kinds of
torture devised for human pain. So when Ephesians 5:2 says, "Christ loved you and gave
himself up for us," don't breeze over the words: "gave himself up." His love is great in
proportion to the costliness of his sacrifice. And his sacrifice was horrendous.

2. The Depth of Christ's Love: Its Undeserving Objects

Romans 5:1-11

A. While We Were Yet Sinners

So come with me now as we look at the depth of the love of God in Christ. And the way we see
it this morning is in how undeserving we were to receive it. Verses 6–8 give the description of
God's love that the Holy Spirit pours out into our hearts:
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will
hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to
die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us.

Now the central fact of the love of God is that Christ died for us. This is what we focused on
last week—Christ sacrificed his life—not just his time and energy and convenience and money
and health—he sacrificed his life—his sinless, holy, tender, wise, loving, divine life.

But that is not Paul's focus in these verses. Here the focus is on the moral condition of those he
died for. This is what shows the love of Christ to be so amazing. This is what the Holy Spirit will
pour into your hearts afresh this morning.

Let's begin with the comparison that Paul makes to human love in verse 7:

One will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare
even to die.

The point here is to show that human love rarely reaches high enough to die for someone who
has been especially good to us. And almost never would human love sacrifice itself for one who
is simply a just and principled person. In other words, if you take the two best candidates of
love—the just and upright citizen; and the kind and generous person who has been good to
you—the likelihood that mere human love would give its life for them is very small.

In contrast with this, Paul describes the love of God. Verse 8:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us . . .

Just stop there for a moment. Put this together with verse 5. Here God demonstrates his love.
There the Holy Spirit pours out his love. Do you see this? We see the demonstration of the love
of God in history and in his Word; but we experience the application of the love of God by the
outpouring work of the Holy Spirit in our heart.

Now back to the contrast with merely human love that scarcely will die for a good man. Verse

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for
The depth of God's love for us—and Christ's love for us—is seen in this: when he chose to love
us, even at the cost of Jesus' life, we were not worthy of his love. In fact we were worthy of his
wrath. We deserved his punishment for our sins against him. And his love is shown in this—
exactly in this—that his love did not wait for any moral improvement in us. The full sacrifice was
made while we were still sinners.

B. While We Were Helpless and Ungodly

Paul heightens this with three other words. Two of them in verse 6:

While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Christ loved us and gave himself for us while we were "helpless" and while we were "ungodly."
"Helpless" implies weak, sickly, unable to impress or make any contribution to our salvation.
Paul said

God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong . . . that no
man should boast before God.

The love of God is given to the unlikely and unworthy so that we will never boast before God.
We will always be humbled that sheer, free mercy saved us.

But we were not only helpless, we were "ungodly." The word means irreverent. We did not fear
God. We had no respect for God. We were godless. This is the way we were when he loved us
and gave his Son for us. What is so remarkable about this word "ungodly" is that it is used
in Romans 1:18 where Paul says,

The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness.

Which means that for all of you who trust Christ, the love of God overcame the wrath of God,
and saved you. So you were guilty sinners, you were weak and helpless, and you were ungodly
and deserving of the just and holy wrath of God. And in spite of all that, he loved you and gave
his Son to die that you might live.

C. While We Were His Enemies

There is one last description of us as undeserving. It's in verse 10:

For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much
more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
This is a good place to end, because after Easter when we turn our minds and our hearts to the
way love works and looks among us and in the world, we are going to hear loud and clear the
words of Jesus,

You have heard that it was said, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, and hate your enemy."
But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:43–44)

Here is the foundation and the source of that love. Romans 5:10,

While we were yet enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son.
God loved us while we were enemies. God sacrificed his Son for us while we were enemies.

Send your roots down into this love. Drink deeply from this love. Build your life on this love.
And if you long to experience it more and more—as I surely do—pray with me, and fast with
me, and yearn with me, that God would pour his love out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. This
is revival. This is the great awakening we pray for.

3. The Depth of Christ's Love: Its Lavish Benefits

1 John 3:1

A. More Than a Rescue

I think this is the kind of serious thinking that lay behind John's words in 1 John 3:1,

See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of

Not only did it cost him his Son to save us from sin and death and hell (John 3:16; 1 John
3:16); and not only were we enemies so that God had to propitiate his own righteous anger in
order to save us (1 John 4:10); but he went way beyond the love of rescue and the love of
sacrifice and the love of clemency to his enemies. In and through all this he had a greater
design. He showed us another kind of love beyond all that. He might have rescued us,
sacrificed for us, forgiven us, and not gone any further. But instead he showed us another kind
of love—he took us into his family. He made us to be called children of God.

Don't take this for granted. First of all, he might not have saved us at all. He might have said,
"Enemies don't deserve saving, and that's that." He might have said, "My Son is too precious to
pay for angels, let alone humans, let alone ungodly, rebellious humans." But he also might have
said, "I will save them from hell, and forgive their sins, and give them eternal existence—on
another planet, and I will communicate with them through angels." Nothing in us, or in the
nature of the world required that God would go beyond all redeeming, forgiving, rescuing,
healing love to this extreme—namely, to an adopting love. A love that will not settle for a truce,
or a formal gratitude, or distant planet of material pleasure, but will press all the way in to
make you a child of God. A member of the family.

B. More Than Adoption

But even that is not an adequate description of this kind of love. When John writes about our
becoming children of God, he is not thinking mainly in terms of adoption. He is thinking in terms
of something more profound. He is thinking of new birth. There is no human analogy to this. If
I find a child and want to take him into my home, I cannot cause the child to be born again. I
take him and I love him with the personality and temperament that he has from his biological
parents. I influence with love, but I do not get into the very nature of the person and change it.

But God does. The love that John has in view here in 1 John 3:1 is not the love that merely
takes care of paper work and adopts. That would be amazing beyond words—to be adopted
into God's family. And Paul does describe it this way. But John sees more. God does not adopt.
He moves in, by his Spirit, his seed, John calls it, and imparts something of himself to us, so
that we take on a family resemblance.

1 John 3:9 puts it like this:

No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot [go on
practicing] sin, because he is born of God. By this we know the children of God.

If you are a child of God this morning, you are so by adoption, yes, and by more than adoption,
by new birth. 1 John 5:1 says it this way,

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ [has been] born of God; and whoever loves the Father
loves the child born of Him.

So the love of God for us goes beyond the story of the wealthy business man who took care of
all the legal matters to adopt the orphan from Burundi. God will not stop in his aggressive
pursuit of closeness and communion until he has penetrated our very souls and planted his
seed in us and given us a new nature, not a divine one—we are not God—but a nature like
God's—in the image of God.
C. God's Design from Before the World Was Made

Paul tells us that this was God's plan long before the world was made. He saw the fall of man
into sin; he saw the history of redemption; and he saw the incarnation and death of his Son;
and in it all he aimed at this. Romans 8:29says,

Whom [God] foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that
He might be the first-born among many brethren.

God predestined it. He planned it long ago. What? That his Son would have many brothers and
sisters in the age to come. How? By adoption? Yes (Ephesians 1:5). But more than adoption.
He predestined us to be conformed to the image of his Son. That is, he caused us to be born
again (Galatians 4:29); he made us new creatures in Christ (Galatians 6:15); he put his Spirit in
us and began a transforming work from inside that would shape us into the family likeness of
God. He wanted us in the family. And he wanted us to be so at home that he went beyond
adoption, and gave us a second birth.

4. The Depth of Christ's Love: Its Freedom

John 10:14-18

A. Jesus Is Not Constrained to Love Us, It Is His Joy

Finally, we come today—on this Easter, Resurrection Sunday morning, to consider the fourth
way that the depth of Christ's love for us is revealed in Scripture. You see the depth of
someone's love for you not only by the pain it costs, and by how much undeservedness in you
the person overcomes, and how great is the bounty the person gives you; but you also see the
depth of love in how free the love is. In other words is the good thing they are doing for you,
constrained and under some external compulsion so that they don't really want to do it but
because of some kind of pressure they do it?

I thought love was renouncing the pursuit of my own joy and pursuing somebody else's instead.
How can you say that the pursuit of my joy is a necessary part of loving?"

To answer that, I ask a very simple question—I ask it to you now: "When somebody does
something good for you, do you feel more loved if they are doing it begrudgingly or gladly?"
Virtually everyone who has ever been willing to respond to me says, "We feel more loved when
people do good things for us willingly and eagerly and gladly rather than begrudgingly or under
compulsion." Which I think means that my joy in loving you is an important part of what makes
love. So if I try to renounce the pursuit of my joy for the sake of love, I wind up destroying the
very thing I seek. The demand for love in the Bible is not a demand to renounce the pursuit of
your joy for the good of others; it's a demand to pursue and find your joy in the good of others.

The more engaged and willing and glad and free is your love for others—especially if it's
costly—the more amazing it is; the deeper it is. And so it was with Jesus. We see the depth of
Jesus' love in the freedom of it—the willingness of it, the eagerness of it, the gladness of it. He
was not forced into doing what he was not willing and eager to do. Yes, it's true, he did not
enjoy the suffering per se. Physical pain did not become physical pleasure on the cross.

But I want you to see the depth of his love this morning in the freedom of it—the willingness of
it, the eagerness of it, and even the joy of it. He loved us with all his heart. Not a fraction of his
heart. Not with a slight inclination, with some cosmic force pressing him to do what he didn't
want to do. And as we look at the freedom of Christ in loving us, the Easter connection will
become clear—because the very freedom with which he loved us is the freedom with which he
rose from the dead.

A. Jesus' Free, Eager, Joyful Love for Us

Let's begin in John 10:17–18,

For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.

A.1The Fathers Loves the Son for Loving Us

This means that there is a special delight that the Father has for the Son because of his
willingness to lay down his life for his people and defeat death on their behalf. The Father loved
the Son before he did this. Jesus said to his Father in John 17:24,

You loved me before the foundation of the world.

But that very love was rooted in the greatness and beauty of the Son's perfections. And part of
that perfection was the love that brought Jesus obediently to the cross. And so it is right for
Jesus to say,

The Father loves me because I lay down my life.

What this should say to us is this: the Father loves the Son for loving us. And what does that
say to us about the love of the Father for us?

A.2 The Freedom of Christ in Loving Us

Now onto verse 18 and the freedom of Christ in loving us:
No one has taken it [my life] away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have
authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received
from My Father.

Now we need to let this sink in this morning. It is very plain and very forceful. "No on takes my
life from me." That's astonishing. Didn't Judas take it? What about the mob in the garden? And
Annas the high priest? And the false witnesses that came against him? And the crowds who
cried, "Crucify him"? And Herod who sent him back to Pilate? And Pilate who handed him over?
And the soldiers who hammered the nails? What does he mean, "No one takes my life from

He means, "At every point where it looks like I was under constraint—every moment where it
looks like I was being forced to do what I did not want to do—I was not being forced. I was
choosing it. I was embracing it. Indeed I and my Father were orchestrating it—because we love
you. No one takes my life from me. I lay it down on my own initiative. My love is free."

A. 3 Why Does Jesus Stress the Freedom of His Love?

Why does Jesus say this? Why does he stress it? Because if it weren't true—if his death were
forced on him, if it weren't free, if his heart weren't really in it—then a big question mark would
be put over his love for us. The depth of his love is in its freedom. If he didn't die for us
willingly—if he didn't choose the suffering and embrace it—then how deep is his love really? So
he stresses it. He makes it explicit. "No one takes my life from me. I lay it down on my own
initiative" [literally: "from myself"]. It comes out of me, not out of circumstances, not out of
pressure, but out of what I really long to do. Yes, verse 18 ends with "this commandment I
have from my Father." But that is simply to show that the Father's heart and Jesus' heart are in
perfect harmony. The Father loves, the Son loves. And what the Son loves the Father loves.
The command was no burdensome constraint.

Jesus is stressing to us this morning that his love for us is free. He seems to hear some enemy
slander saying, "Jesus doesn't really love you. He's a mercenary. He's in it for some other
reason than love. He's under some kind of constraint or external compulsion. He doesn't really
want to die for you. He's just got himself somehow into this job and has to submit to the forces
controlling him." Jesus seems to hear something like that, or anticipate it. And he responds, "No
one takes my life from me. I lay it down on my own initiative." So he is pressing this on us to
see if we will believe his protest of love, or if we will believe the opposite—that his heart is
really not in this.

Since Jesus cared so much that we know how freely and willingly he suffered for us, let's look
at just a few other illustrations of this truth. Let the truth sink in. No one took his life. He chose
to give it for us. He embraced the suffering. He was eager and willing. It was—I risk the
statement—his joy to live and die for us.
A. 4 Jesus Walks Through an Angry Mob

Do you remember the story in Luke 4 where he comes to the synagogue in Nazareth where he
had grown up? He read the Scripture reading that day. Then he said that the Scriptures were
fulfilled in their hearing that very moment. But when he pointed out that the blessings of the
Messiah were going to include the Gentiles and not just the Jews it says in verses 29–30,

They rose up and cast Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their
city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He
went His way.

Now what's going on here? A mob of people, enraged over the local teacher's teaching, carry
him to the edge of a cliff to throw him down. And the next thing you see is Jesus walking
through their midst—like the children of Israel through the Red Sea—and going his way. Why?
The reason is this: his hour was not yet come. No one take's my life from me. I lay it down on
my own initiative. And I lay it down at the appointed time. Not before and not after.

A. 5 Jesus' Arrest

In the garden of Gethsemane in the last night before his death Jesus said two stunning things
that sealed his death and showed that he was acting in the utter freedom of his love. When the
mob finally came, and Peter struck out and cut off the ear of the priest's servant, Jesus said,

Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the
sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My
disposal more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:53)

What's he saying? He is saying, "No one takes my life from me. I lay it down freely. I choose
this. I embrace it. This is my love at work here, Peter. This is no accidental mob violence. This
is my sovereign love for you, Peter. Don't try to stop it."

Then he turned and healed the man's ear and said an amazing thing to the mob:

While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the
power of darkness are yours. (Luke 22:53)

Up until now you could have killed me easily. But you didn't. Do you know why? Do you think it
was because you were deciding what hour I would die? Wrong. The reason you are here now is
because, "this is your hour"—not before and not after. "No one takes my life from me. I lay it
down of my own initiative. I decide the hour, not you. I am not being swept away. I am walking
willingly, with my eyes wide open, and with all my heart to the cross—because I love my sheep.
I love them. I really love them."
Psalm 40:8 (Hebrews 10:9)

But to push this truth to the limit, let me quote for you a psalm that the New Testament applies
to Jesus (in Hebrews 10:9). It refers to his coming into the world to offer himself as a sacrifice
for sin: "Then I said,

Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me; I delight to do Thy will, O my God.
(Psalm 40:8)

The ultimate freedom is joy. He rejoiced to do his redeeming work for us. The physical pain of
the cross did not become physical pleasure. But Jesus was sustained through it all by joy. He
really, really wanted to save us. To gather for himself a happy, holy, praising people. Like a
husband yearning for a beloved bride (Ephesians 5:25ff.).

End: We Must First Be Gripped by Christ’s Love for Us

The point today is that, if we are to grow in our love to one another, we must experience being
loved by Christ with a deep, unshakable love — the love of Romans 8:35, “Who shall separate
us from the love of Christ?” We must be wonderstruck that the love of Christ holds us. That he
holds us firmly in the grip of his love. The profound wonder — that Christ, the Son of God loves
us — must grip us and hold us and fill our minds. We must put it before our minds at the
beginning of the day (he loves me), and then again at midmorning (he loves me), and then at
noon (he loves me), and then at mid-afternoon (he loves me), and then at supper time (he
loves me), and then before bed (he loves me).

And as we take the Scriptures like Romans 8:35, we must pray about this. This is what I will
call the “Fasting Forty” to focus on as we give the new cards out next Sunday. To pray that this
sense of being loved by Christ would fill us and overflow from us.

Our Roots Never Get to the Bottom of Christ’s Love

This is how we prove in experience that the depth and breadth of the love of Christ are endless.
Our roots never get to the bottom of it and our broadening foundation never run out of rock to
build on. I think these two images are meant to show us the same things as Romans 8:35,
“Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.” The roots of our life are firmly held by the
depths of Christ’s love. And the foundation of our life is firmly supported by the rock of Christ’s
love. We cannot be plucked up or blown over. That is the point of Romans 8:35, “Nothing can
separate us from the love of Christ.”

God is calling us to new depths of love for each other and for those outside. If that is going to
happen (and it is happening), something else must happen first (which is happening). Paul’s
prayer must be answered:
[May God grant that we], being rooted and grounded in love, may be able 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.

Would you join me, and make it a matter of earnest prayer that all of us grasp more and more
what it is to be loved by Christ — nothing can separate us from his love. Then the power to
love each other will flow freely.