The Secret of Devotedness
2 Corinthians 5:14, 15
For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

life one now flings a charge of madness at the sublime enthusiasm of St. Paul. He is looked on as a paragon of Christians. But, while he lived, he had no such general appreciation to encourage and sustain him. What he had above other men were not praises, but labours and reproaches. He endured all because he had in himself the mainspring of faith and the holy energy of love. Throughout this Epistle he shows his feelings and motives with the utmost candour, and in this passage tells how he came to be so enthusiastic toward God and so thoughtful and self-controlled toward his fellow Christians.

I. THE MOVING PRINCIPLE OF CHRISTIAN DEVOTEDNESS. It is the strong unchanging love of Christ to his people, assured to them by his Spirit and his Word. Paul had a fear of God, a reverence for the Law, and walked in all good conscience; but when the love of Christ was revealed to him and suffused his spirit it made a new man of him - thrilled, stirred, animated, constrained him to love and serve Christ and the Church. And as the apostle grew old and experienced, this motive lost nothing of its power. The love of Christ became to him, as it does to all experienced Christians, more and more wonderful - a Shepherd's love, that led him to die for us, and that now secures that we "shall not want;" a Brother's love, and "love beyond a brother's;" a Bridegroom's love, who gave himself for the Church and will present the Church to himself.

II. THE WAY IN WHICH THE MOTIVE ACTS. It is through no mere gush of feeling, but through consideration of the purpose and efficacy of Christ's death and resurrection.

1. He died for all to this intent and with this result, that all of them died. Virtually and in the estimate of God this crucifixion of the whole Church took place when Christ was crucified. In the actual realization of it it becomes true to each man as and when he looks to Christ crucified and is united to him by faith. And with effects both legal and moral. He who was married to the Law dies to the Law, and is freed from its claims, so as to be married to the risen Christ. He who lived in sin dies to sin, and may not any longer live therein. He who loved the world is crucified to it, that he may love and live to God.

2. He rose again; and all the crucified ones live by him. So they have justification, as represented by the accepted One, who has gone to the Father; and sanctification too, as separated to God in holy living and guided by the indwelling Spirit The former manner of life is marked by self regard. The new manner of life exchanges this for the habit of regarding Christ. So his constraining love induces his followers "to live unto him."


1. Let it instruct us. Many are very ill informed on the relation of our Lord's death and resurrection to the Divine will and to human salvation; and for this reason they are much less constrained by his love than they ought to be. Study these things. Bring thought and consideration as well as emotion to the theme. The love constrains "because we judge."

2. Let it humble us. Has the Son of the living God so loved us, and where is our love to him?

"Lord, it is my chief complaint
That my love is cold and faint."

3. Let it impel us. What we need to overcome our moral indolence and habits of self-pleasing is the pressure of strong convictions and motives; and we can best get these in contemplating the love, the death, and the resurrection of Christ. This, too, is a great security against departure from the Lord. When we know and feel little of Christ's love we are easily tempted; but when this is in our thoughts and affections we abhor and repel whatever might separate us from him.

4. Let it comfort us. We are delivered from the wrath to come. Christ loves us. Then the Father also loves us. Duties are pleasant, afflictions are light; to live is Christ, to die is gain. - F.

Parallel Verses
KJV: For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

WEB: For the love of Christ constrains us; because we judge thus, that one died for all, therefore all died.

The Sacrifice of Christ
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