"The love of Christ, which passeth knowledge."

In his prayer of Ephesians 3, the apostle Paul desired that the saints might know the love of Christ. They knew that love in measure, but the apostle sought that they might deepen in the knowledge of a love that is infinite and eternal. A somewhat similar thought regarding the knowledge of Christ is found in Philippians 3:10 where Paul writes. "That I may know Him." How well the apostle knew his Master, but there was no limit to the knowledge of Christ, and in this knowledge he wished to grow.

This knowledge-surpassing love of Christ has been perfectly expressed, and of this we learn in Ephesians 5, "Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour." Eph. 5:2. The giving of Himself is the measure of the love of Christ. Love brought the Son of God from the unapproachable light in which He eternally dwelt into Manhood, and in this world He manifested divine compassion towards sinners, and His affection for the men His Father had given Him out of the world; but His love took Him to the cross, and there He gave Himself.

The man, in the parable of Matthew 13, who found treasure hid in a field, sold all that he had to procure the treasure; and the merchant man, in the same chapter, who found the goodly pearl, sold all that he had to purchase it. These parables without doubt teach us of Christ impoverishing Himself to secure the church; but when we come to the reality. Christ goes further: He not only emptied Himself, but in love He gave himself, and nothing more could He possibly give.

Paul had spoken to the Galatians of the love of Christ, saying, "The Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me": here he tells the saints at Ephesus of that same love, which was not only for himself, but for them also. In the giving of Himself, Christ not only expresses His love for each of His own individually, but also for them collectively. Indeed, in Ephesians 5:25, we read that "Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it." Here it is the expression of His love corporately for the church as His bride. In each case. Christ's love is expressed by the giving of Himself: surely the infinite expression of a love that passeth knowledge!

When Christ gave Himself for us, the offering of Himself was to God, and for a sweet-smelling savour. This aspect of the death of Christ is foreshadowed in the burnt offerings of the Old Testament. The whole offering was burnt on the altar for the pleasure of Jehovah, but the offerer was accepted before Him in all the efficacy and fragrance of the offering. Nothing less than this could satisfy the love of Christ; He would have His own before God and the Father in all the acceptance of His work and the acceptability of Himself. Because of His work, "He hath made us accepted in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6).

This wonderful offering not only brings us to God as worshippers, but secures for us the inestimable privilege of communion with Him, for the truth set forth in the peace offering is also indicated in "A sacrifice to God." The inward excellency of the sacrifice, "The food of the offering made by fire" was Jehovah's portion; the right shoulder was given to the priest that burnt the fat upon the altar, to strengthen him for his service in the presence of God, "but the breast shall be Aaron's and his sons'" (Lev. 3:11: Lev. 7:31-33). The whole Christian company has the precious privilege of divine communion regarding the love that passes knowledge, expressed in the death of our Lord Jesus Christ.