"The love of Christ, which passeth knowledge."

Ephesians 3:14-21.

J. N. Darby.

250 In the prayer in chapter 3 the apostle loses himself, as it were, and no wonder. After he has said, "I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," he adds, "that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love [that is what God is - the divine nature], may be able to comprehend with all saints [taking in the whole unity in which the Holy Ghost dwells], what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height" - he has now got into the infinitude of all God's thoughts and purposes of blessing, and he cannot say of what. Just as the groanings could not be uttered, so the thought cannot be uttered. It is God that has come in, and Christ fills all things according to the power of redemption, from the throne of God, down to the dust of death, and from the dust of death up to the throne of God. Having all things, and filling all things (he says), here I am placed, in the midst of this infinitude. And then he adds, "and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." He could go to no place, but there he found infinite love and infinite power - the love that brought Christ down, and the power that took Christ up again.

This meets all the exercises of the heart. If brought down, even (as Christ came down) into the dust of death, the Holy Ghost comes down to the poor man, who feels this power of death in his soul, and dwells in him, and carries him up, by the knowledge of redemption, into all the fulness of God Himself.

Well, that, beloved, is the result of the dwelling of the Holy Ghost down here, consequent upon redemption accomplished by Christ. The Holy Ghost can come and bring peace to our souls, and the effect of that peace to our souls is to make us pass through all the evil around "according to the power of God." When the apostle speaks to Timothy, he says, "Be thou a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God."

251 Where shall we stop? The soul rejoices in that which must be the joy and gladness of the heart which knows God has come down to dwell in it, the immutable blessedness of God's presence. Then, whatever the circumstances in which we are placed, if they be only those of sorrow and trial, what is the consequence? God ministers of the fulness of the sympathy of His love to our souls; and thus they become, so to speak, as a door, or a chink, to let in God. All the riches, "the unsearchable riches of Christ," are ours. And Christ fills everything. There is not anything we can think of, but we find there of the fulness of Christ. If we think of death, we see Christ there - of sin, we do not know what sin is fully until we see Christ "made sin" - of God, it is only in Christ we can know God - of man, it is only in Christ we can see man raised to the height of his blessing - of peace, it is through Christ we know the peace of God - of life, Christ is our life - of glory, it is all in Christ. There is not anything, no matter what we think of, whether in creation, or above it, or between God and man, but we must think of Christ in it all. He is the "head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." We can turn our thoughts to no one thing in which we do not find the fulness of Christ; and by the power of the Holy Ghost our souls are brought into the joy of this fulness, as that to which we are, through living union with Him, everlastingly and perfectly united.

There is another point which I have not touched upon, the practical effect of this. What would the effect be on our souls, if we really felt we were "builded together" etc.? if we felt that, in the whole world, Christians were in truth the dwelling-place of God? What a thought should we have to act upon as to everything! That by which the church of God has been corrupted, ordinances and the like, would disappear as clouds before the presence of the sun. And what thoughts of glory should we have - what thoughts of holiness - what peace as to practical circumstances - what jealousy of grieving the Holy Ghost - what love toward all saints - what joy - what confidence! How we should (not in pride, but in the sense that God was there) mock at all our enemies (Isaiah 37:22-23) - how live and act among men, as "sons" and "heirs" of God! What power for everything, in short, would be ours, if we remembered the completeness, the peace-giving completeness, of redemption, and could really say, that God was dwelling with us!

252 This is our portion; and whatever our weakness and infirmity (and alas! it is very great), whatever our failure, still it remains true. We may grieve the Spirit, we may weaken the consciousness of our joy, but still God is with us. The Holy Spirit dwells among us.

May the Lord give us to know and to own what this presence of God in the earth, and that with men, is by reason of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus!