Paul concludes his letter to the Ephesians with four precious gospel words: “Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible” (Eph. 6:23-24). Those are four of the most important words you’ll ever hear: peace, love, faith, grace. And what about the last sentence? Absolutely beautiful. How fitting that Ephesians would end with the phrase “love incorruptible.”
And what does undying love look like?
It looks like Ephesians 4-6.
We love Jesus enough to obey his commands. We abide in Christ by letting his words abide in us. We live a life worthy of the calling we have received. “Love incorruptible” is an elegant phrase, but it’s hard work. It means no longer living as the pagans do. It means taking off the old clothes of greed, sensuality, and impurity and putting on the new garments of truth, righteousness, and holiness.
It’s very easy to talk about love. What the world needs now is love, sweet love. But few people bother to define love any more. Except that Paul does, all over the place in Ephesians. If we truly love, we will be changed people. We will put off falsehood, unrighteous anger, stealing, unwholesome talk, and bitterness. And we will put on truth-telling, righteous anger, hard work, edifying conversation, and compassion. We will be imitators of Christ. There is no real love for Christ if we do not long to be like him in his perfect righteousness and justice, his perfect truth and grace.
If we love our Lord Jesus with undying love we will live as children of light, exposing the shameful deeds of darkness. We will be careful how we live, making the most of every opportunity, understanding the Lord’s will, and being filled with the Spirit. Out of love for Christ, wives will submit to their husbands, children honor their parents, and workers obey their bosses. And out of love for Christ, husbands will lay down their lives for their wives, parents will instruct their children in the Lord, and bosses will treat their workers as they themselves wish to be treated.
If we love our Lord Jesus Christ, we not give up in our fight against the flesh and the devil, but we will stand our ground and resist the schemes of the evil one. And above all, and under all, we will pray–at all times, with all kinds of prayers, for all the saints, in all perseverance.
That’s a lot for God to ask of us in the name of love. But, do not forget, all that he asks he provides. We love our Lord Jesus Christ with undying love because in him we know God’s own immortal, imperishable, incorruptible love for us.
That’s Ephesians 1-3.
In Christ we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. We were chosen in him to be holy and blameless. Through Jesus, we have been adopted as God’s children. In him, we have redemption through his blood. And in him, God is bringing the entire universe to its fulfillment–to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In him, we were also chosen, predestined according to God’s sovereign plan. In Christ we have been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, marked out as God’s own possession to the praise of his glory.
In our Lord Jesus Christ, God is right now working his mighty power for us who believe. And in Christ we have already been made alive with him, even when we were dead in transgressions. And in him we have been seated in the heavenly realms, in order that in the coming ages God might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
In him we have been created for good works. In him we who were far away have been brought near. In him, Jews and Gentiles, blacks and whites, Croats and Serbs can come together in one body. In him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. In him is a love that is wide and long and high and deep and surpasses knowledge.
To this Jesus Christ, whom we love with undying love, be glory throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.