Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

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John 14:18-25, Colossians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:8-12

Scripture Reading: John 14:18-25, Colossians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:8-12

What is the greatest love of your life? I know it sounds ridiculous, but I have a white Great Dane named Bess who is pretty high in the love rankings for me. We are in tune to each other without using words, and our mutual love is as steady as a slow walk in a long field. My husband is probably my greatest love—he still looks at me with love in his eyes, after eighteen years, even when I’m my worst combination of bossy and lazy. There’s also my children, who have awakened a love in me that makes me feel like a mighty grizzly bear. And there are also a handful of beloved women in my life, just a few, who have invited me into a community of virtue and laughter that I can’t find anywhere else in the world. We have a lot of chances for great love, and the love of my Great Dane is not, in fact, the least among these.

We are transformed in small ways by all our loves. Because of Bess, I am defenseless against the sweetness of a soft pink muzzle. Because of my children, I am brave. Because of my husband, I am at peace. Because of my dear friends, I am wise. Love transforms us. I’m sure you are similarly transformed by the loves in your life. But the most profound transformation comes from the love of Christ. This divine love excels all other loves. Where my dog and my husband fail me, Christ’s love stretches as far as the east is from the west.

How are we transformed by Christ’s love? First, we are transformed from death to life. Jesus promised, “Because I live, you will live too” (John 14:19). A life without Christ is a life of death and ashes; His love transforms these bodies of death to vessels of life. It is a complete transformation that we cannot affect with our own power.

Finish then Thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
perfectly restored in Thee.

It is God’s divine love and mercy that have the power to change us, to bring us from death to life in Him, affecting our lives in profound ways, now and forever. We are loved by the Father and equipped by the Holy Spirit, enabling us to keep God’s commands. Jesus will reveal Himself to us, we will keep His Word, and we will be at home with Him (John 14:21–23). We are fundamentally changed when Christ loves us.

We are also transformed by His love because we are reconciled to Him. Apart from His love, we are forever doomed to run in circles chasing our sin. When we are transformed by His love, He lifts us off the merry-go-round of sin and reconciles us to Himself. He transforms us from dirty to clean, from darkness to light.

Once [we] were alienated and hostile in [our] minds expressed in [our] evil actions.
But now he has reconciled [us] by his physical body through his death,
to present [us] holy, faultless, and blameless before him (Colossians 1:21-22).

I want to be presented before God as holy, faultless, and blameless! What a wonderful mystery of the gospel that I can be transformed from a lost sinner to someone who is holy and blameless!

Finally, Christ’s love transforms us by giving us “confident access” to Himself (Ephesians 3:12). Our access to God is a hard-won privilege, given to us by Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross. Because of Christ, we can run to our Father in prayer, and depend on Him for comfort in every circumstance. And because of Christ’s love, His loving Spirit breathes transforming comfort “into ev’ry troubled breast.”


Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Text: Charles Wesley, 1747

Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heav’n, to earth come down,
fix in us Thy humble dwelling;
all Thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, Thou art all compassion;
pure, unbounded love Thou art;
visit us with Thy salvation;
enter ev’ry trembling heart.

Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit
into ev’ry troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit;
let us find the promised rest.
Take away the love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.

Come, Almighty, to deliver;
let us all Thy life receive;
suddenly return and never,
nevermore Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
glory in Thy perfect love.

Finish then Thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see Thy great salvation
perfectly restored in Thee.
Changed from glory into glory,
till in heav’n we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before Thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise


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19 thoughts on "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling"

  1. Peggy Lester says:

    I need this reminder of the real source of love that I need to run to. It is so easy to lose that focus then lose my way and chase the bunnies that leave you empty and broken. I needed the reminder to look around me today and see all the reminders of God’s love for me that he has graced my life with! Breathe on me anew, Heavenly Father!