“may be able to comprehend with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth”
Consider the matter of the breadth of God’s love. How broad or wide is the love of God? We learn something about the breadth of God’s love from the occurrence of two beautiful sets of words in the New Testament.
The first set of words is “God sent…” We find these words recorded in Galatians 4:4-5 (NAS): But when the fulness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. We find these words again in I John 4:9 (NIV) which states: This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.
The second set of words is “God gave…” We find these words recorded in John 3:16, perhaps the most well-known verse in the Bible: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
The breadth of God’s love is seen in the fact that God sent His Son into the world and God gave His Son to die in our place that we might have the opportunity to be reconciled to God. The little baby in the manger, the precious Christ of Christmas who became the Christ of Calvary, was God’s message to all mankind saying, “I love you this much.”
The words “world” and “whoever” in John 3:16 are a reference to the breadth or width of the love of God. The word “world” refers to every man that has ever lived or will ever live on the face of the earth. It is a collective term that refers to all of us. The word “whoever” refers to each of us. It is an individualistic term. These words remind us that God’s love is wide enough to embrace the world and yet narrow enough to personally embrace each of us.
The words “world” and “whoever” should also remind us that every man has a space in God’s heart. Everyone of us can say, “God loves everybody, therefore He loves me.” And everyone of us can also say, “God loves me, therefore He loves everybody.” Surely the love that has stooped to embrace me can never pass by and ignore any other person in this world.
Unlike us, God is impartial in His love. He does not love me any more than He loves you and He does not love you any more than He loves the drunk lying in the gutter. We are all embraced by the same love of God.
Unlike us, God’s love is not diluted because it is wide in its scope. When you and I begin to stretch our love beyond our family and close friends to take in the neighbors, business associates, and the starving children in Ethiopia, it becomes more generalized and diluted. We do not love the starving children in Ethiopia in the same manner that we love our own children.
God’s love however is the same for everybody in the world. His love does not diminish in its intensity because He loves on such a wide scale. And, so we see that God’s love is as broad as mankind and yet as narrow as each one of us.