…”and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19).
Contradiction can be defined as bringing together 2 or more propositions that are logically incompatible.
For example, if a woman says, “my husband is a bachelor” we would instantly recognize an incongruity in the 2 assertions. By definition, a bachelor is an unmarried man; therefore, the man of which she speaks cannot be married to her and unmarried at the same time.
However, closely related to contradiction is the concept of paradox. This is a statement that appears to be contradictory, but on closer examination is plausible, or even true.
Example: many years ago, a horse-and-buggy carrying a father and son runs off a bridge, killing the father and badly injuring the son. The boy is rushed to hospital and prepared for surgery, wherein the surgeon exclaims, “I cannot operate on this boy – he’s my son!” The apparent confusion is a result of our incorrect assumption; all is clarified when we realize the surgeon is the boy’s mother.
Paul’s statement in Ephesians 3:19 above borders on contradiction, but really poses an interesting spiritual paradox: how can we be invited to know Christ’s love, when it surpasses human ability to understand?
The answer is found in what Paul has said immediately prior to verse 19:
- he prays “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (v.17). Paul is not suggesting that these Ephesian believers need again to be converted and to have the Lord Jesus take up residence in their lives. Rather, Paul is teaching as they mature in Christ, He will become deeply rooted so that speech, conduct and attitudes are increasingly influenced by Christ-likeness.
- Paul goes on to describe that these believers will find themselves “rooted and grounded in love” (v.17), indicating that the Christian will reflect His love in their lives and relationships.
- the apostle also asks the Lord to provide the strength and capacity for believers to understand the dimensions of Christ’s love (“breadth and length and height and depth” v.18). More than a mental exercise, this perception – based on faith strengthened by experience – is intended to sustain us when doubt worms its way into our thinking.
- incrementally increasing godliness is the result: “that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (v.19).
But we are contemplating the realm of supernatural! We can know the unknowable only as the Spirit of God enlightens our minds, clarifying our thinking to grasp spiritual truth – including the paradox of knowing the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.
Takeaway: is my relationship with Christ growing? or has it stalled on a plateau? Do I increasingly know, appreciate, and recognize His love in my life and circumstances? Lord, increase my facility to know and apprehend Your love!