The Love that Holds Us Together
Chris' Corner -- Sunday, February 14, 2021
In 2 Corinthians 5:14 (New King James), the apostle Paul wrote, “For the love of Christ compels us...” In the old King James, the word “compels” is translated “constraineth,” and in the English Standard Version it appears as “controls.”
According to the Greek dictionaries, giving us the meanings of the original language of the New Testament, this word describes holding something together, so it doesn’t fall apart or be broken into pieces.
Some of the subtle variations in translation help us to appreciate this important word. The term is used in Philippians 1:23, where Paul, being in an emotional dilemma, said he was “...hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.”
It is used again in Acts 18:5, where he was “compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.” The Holy Spirit held Paul together as he preached to the Jews, who for the most part rejected his teaching of Christ, while others constantly hounded him from town to town trying to kill him.
This seems to be the meaning in 2 Corinthians 5:14. Paul started out in the chapter (vs. 9-11), talking about the coming judgment and “terror of the Lord.” This he said was a motivation for persuading men to see the need to turn to the Savior in belief and obedience. The fear of eternal condemnation and punishment, is something we should keep in mind as a legitimate and scriptural motivation for pleading with folks to respond to God’s message of salvation!
“Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:11). “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
Remember, there would be no positives without the negatives. Back in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul turns from the negative to the positive results of that turning in belief and obedience. The wonderful love of Christ held Paul together as he preached the message of reconciliation (vs. 14-21).
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:20–21).
It may seem difficult at times to speak to others about Christ’s great sacrifice and the salvation He brought to the world through His death on the cross. But we need to remember, His love for us and our love for Him, have been welded together into the one motivating band that holds us together, so we can accomplish what needs to be done in telling the Good News to the world, even under duress.