“Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.”
These are the closing words of the book of Ephesians. The grace that Paul refers to here is empowering grace, not saving grace. He is writing to believers who have already received salvation. The blessing he pronounces in this final verse is an extra measure of empowering grace for those who love the Lord with what Paul describes as “love incorruptible.”
The word the apostle uses for “incorruptible” is aphtharsia, and it describes something that has not been diminished or distorted or corrupted. Thus he is giving us a critical admonition: Keep your love for God and others pure. Love the Lord with love that is aphtharsia … incorruptible.
I am reminded of what Paul wrote earlier in Ephesians 5.1-2: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Love that is aphtharsia can only be found when we give ourselves fully to the Creator who loved us and gave his Son for us. Indeed, Jesus is the standard. He is the example. The kind of love with which he loves us is the kind of love with which we should love God and others.
To love the Lord with “love incorruptible” means faithful obedience. It means loyalty and sustained commitment to his standards. It means not settling for a lesser love. It means not being fooled or seduced by counterfeit versions.
There is a battle between the two different loves. On one side is authentic love that is clarified by the light of God’s word; on the other side is counterfeit love that is distorted and corrupted by the darkness of the world. That is the battle: love directed by darkness versus love directed by light.
If you look carefully at your life, you will notice that when your love for other people is at its strongest and most Christ-like, it is because you are allowing the truth of God’s word and the power of the Holy Spirit to guide you. You will also notice that when your love for other people is weak (or even absent), it is because you are following the impulses of your old nature.
We are created, redeemed, and called by God to be his people in the world. People who reflect God’s character and represent his kingdom. People who live and work in a way that makes God’s light and love known to a world that desperately needs it.
I pray that 2022 is a year in which you walk in the true light and love of Christ every day.
*This is the final devotional on the book of Ephesians. Next week I will start a new series entitled “The Path.”