For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again’ (2 Cor. 5:14f.).

In these great verses Paul speaks of love as a constraining force. Love, he says, hems us in. There are certain things which love prevents us from doing.

Earlier in the passage he has spoken of another restraining force — namely, fear. ‘Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord,’ he says, ‘we persuade men.’ Since we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, it behoves us to stand in fear of Him; and there are many things which, because we shall stand before His judgment seat, we are afraid to do. . . .

In our text, however, it is something other than fear that is the thing that is said to constrain us or hem us in. It is love. ‘The love of Christ,’ Paul says, ‘constraineth us.’

What then is here meant by the love of Christ?

It is all too common and popular today to find people extolling their love for Christ. Such a proclamation isn't wrong, in and of itself, for the psalms of David often mention His love for God. However, what Machen wants to expound in this passage, 2 Cor. 4:14f, is its teaching in regard to the love of Christ for us, in particular, its restraining qualities. And further, what exactly does Christ restrain? I have little doubt that reading this article will move your soul to great heights of joy, gratitude and worship of our great God and Redeemer whoever makes intercession for us; we who struggle to live out the Christian life which is pleasing to our God. May this be the case with you all.

You can read this article here: Constraining Love.

Or, for later reading, go to The Highway homepage and click on the "Article of the Month" logo.

In His service and grace,

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simul iustus et peccator

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