THE LENGTH OF CHRIST’S LOVE
The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him. – Psalm 103:17
What is the length of the love of Christ? If we are to think of Him only as a man, however exalted and however perfect, you and I have nothing in the world to do with His love. When He was here on earth it may have been sent down the generations in some vague, pale way, as the shadowy ghost of love may rise in the heart of a great statesman or philanthropist for generations yet unborn, which he dimly sees will be affected by his sacrifice and service. But we do not call that love. Such a poor, pale, shadowy thing has no right to the warm, throbbing name; has no right to demand from us any answering thrill of affection; and unless you think of Jesus Christ as something more and other than the purest and the loftiest benevolence that ever dwelt in human form, I know of no intelligible sense in which the length of His love can be stretched to touch you. And if we content ourselves with that altogether inadequate and lame conception of Him and of His nature, of course there is no present bond between any man upon earth and Him, and it is absurd to talk about His present love as extending in any way to me. But we have to believe, rising to the full height of the Christian conception of the nature and person of Christ, that when He was here on earth the Divine that dwelt in Him so informed and inspired the human as that the love of His man’s heart was able to grasp the whole, and to separate the individuals that should make up the race till the end of time; so as that you and I, looking back over all the centuries, and asking ourselves what is the length of the love of Christ, can say, “It stretches over all the years, and it reached then as it reaches now to touch me, upon whom the ends of the earth have come.”
That thought of eternal being, when we refer it to God, towers above us and repels us; and when we turn it to ourselves, and think of our own life as unending, there comes a strangeness and an awe that is almost shrinking over the thoughtful spirit. But when we transmute it into the thought of a love whose length is unending, then, over all the shoreless, misty, melancholy sea of eternity, there gleams a light, and every wavelet flashes up into glory. There is another measure of the length of the love of Christ. ” Master! How often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?” “I say not unto thee until seven times, but until seventy times seven.” So said the Christ, multiplying perfection into itself twice – two sevens and a ten- in order to express the idea of boundlessness. And the law that He laid down for His servant is the law that binds Himself. The pitying Christ, the eternal Lover of all wandering souls, looks down from Heaven upon every one of us; goes with us in all our wanderings; bears with us in all our sins. His pleadings sound on, like some stop in an organ continuously persistent through all the other notes. And round His throne are written the Divine words which have been spoken about our human love modeled after His. “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; is not easily provoked, is not soon angry, beareth all things.”
The length of the love of Christ is the length of eternity, and out-measures all human sin.
And I in my mind and heart would ask: Just how long is eternity? Can we even fathom it?