Right in the middle of the book of Ephesians, which contains the most complete, accurate, and detailed description of the church, which is Christ’s body, there is this nugget…
Ephesians 3:17-18 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
This does not say, “roots will grow down into tradition.” It does not say, “roots will grow down into doctrine.” It does not even say, “roots will grow down into truth.” It says, when you trust him, your roots will grow down into God’s love. I am ashamed of the times I have let tradition, doctrine, and even my understanding of “truth” get in the way of letting my roots grow down into God’s love.
Consider, in this letter, the Apostle Paul was trying to do a very difficult task. He was working with two groups of people who had only hatred and disdain for each other: Jews and Gentiles. He was trying to explain that God was making something new that contained them both. God was making a living organism composed of all believers that would function in love. This was unheard of in thousands of years of history between these two groups of people. No wonder his message was hard to understand by many, like Peter (2 Peter 3:16).
3:13-19 The apostle seems to be more anxious lest the believers should be discouraged and faint upon his tribulations, than for what he himself had to bear. He asks for spiritual blessings, which are the best blessings. Strength from the Spirit of God in the inner man; strength in the soul; the strength of faith, to serve God, and to do our duty. If the law of Christ is written in our hearts, and the love of Christ is shed abroad there, then Christ dwells there. Where his Spirit dwells, there he dwells. We should desire that good affections may be fixed in us. And how desirable to have a fixed sense of the love of God in Christ to our souls! How powerfully the apostle speaks of the love of Christ! The breadth shows its extent to all nations and ranks; the length, that it continues from everlasting to everlasting; the depth, its saving those who are sunk into the depths of sin and misery; the height, its raising them up to heavenly happiness and glory. Those who receive grace for grace from Christ’s fulness, may be said to be filled with the fulness of God. Should not this satisfy man? Must he needs fill himself with a thousand trifles, fancying thereby to complete his happiness? –Matthew Henry Commentary
How about us — two thousand years later — have we learned the lesson?
Is our Christian fellowship characterized by love growing down into the roots of God’s love? If not, please examine yourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5). I pray that you are trusting in God and letting your roots grow down into His love.