Hymnody

How Wide the Love of Christ

God’s love for us is astounding.  Look at what humanity has done: we kill, slander, lie, lust, steal, hate, and are loveless towards our neighbors and especially towards God.  We are the reason Christ died.  In that through-death-way, however, God showed his love for us.  He reconciled all men to himself.  Christ dying for us is really what the Gospel is all about – Christ’s love shines forth through his outstretched arms on the cross.  This Gospel is the power for salvation to all who believe:

How wide the love of Christ! 
It knows not class or race
But holds our one humanity
Within its broad embrace. (LSB 535:1)

Christ’s love for us is longsuffering, and divinely kind.  We daily sin much, but he still chose to die for us.  Still chose to come into the flesh for us.  He still chose to bear upon himself the punishment that brought us peace. “How long the love of Christ!  Its patience will not cease (LSB 535:2)” it will be patient with us our whole lives, and will continue “until this broken world is bound In everlasting peace (LSB 535:2)” when he makes all things new and we live with him forever!

To bring us to heaven he was deeply moved by love to die for our sins – all of them.  There aren’t any left, they’re obliterated, blown out the water.  Death, Satan, our flesh, and our sins tell Jesus, “You sunk my battleship!”  The Gospels often describe Jesus as having compassion on the people.  Literally it means to be gut-wrenched, cut to the heart, feel-it-in-the-pit-of-the-stomach emotion.  It pierced him deeply, it pierced his hands, feet, and side, and it pierced him to the point of death:

How deep the love of Christ,
Descending to a cross!
He bears within His wounded hands
All human pain and loss. (LSB 535:4)

We don’t have to wonder, “Well that’s nice, but what good does it do me?”  Christ dying on the cross isn’t the Gospel, not even Christ rising from death.  But that he did those things FOR YOU is.  They don’t remain off somewhere to be sought out, or chosen – “as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death” (Romans 6:3).  He chose us, washed us sinking our old Adam like a battleship, he Absolves us, and feeds us with himself at His Supper.

His love is so broad that he died to rescue the whole world from sin, death, and the devil.  It’s so deep that he went into death, hell, and abandonment by God for us. 

All praise to you, O Christ,
For love whose depth and height,
Whose length and breadth fill time and space
With endless life and light! (LSB 535:5)

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