J.C. Philpot

“That you. . . . may be able to COMPREHEND WITH ALL SAINTS what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the Love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” [Ephesians 3:17-19]

You may wonder sometimes—and it is a wonder that will fill heaven itself with anthems of eternal praise—how such a glorious Jesus can ever look down from heaven upon such crawling reptiles, on such worms of earth—what is more, upon such sinners who have provoked Him over and over again by their misdeeds. Yes, how this exalted Christ, in the height of His glory, can look down from heaven on such poor, miserable, wretched creatures as we—this is the mystery that fills angels with astonishment!

We feel we are such crawling reptiles—such undeserving creatures—and are so utterly unworthy of the least notice from Him, that we say, “Can Christ love one like me? Can the glorious Son of God cast an eye of pity and compassion, love and tenderness upon one like me—who can scarcely at times bear with myself—who sees and feels myself one of the vilest of the vile, and the worst of the worst? O, what must I be in the sight of the glorious Son of God?”

And yet, He has loved you with an everlasting love! His love has breadths, and lengths, and depths, and heights unknown! Its breadth exceeds all human span—its length outlives all creature line—its depth surpasses all finite measurement—its height excels even angelic computation! Because His love is so wondrous, so deep, so long, so broad, so high—it is so suitable to our every want and woe.


“May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” [Eph 3:18]

The subject to be comprehended is not only beyond man’s NATURAL CAPACITY, but beyond the ordinary force of his SPIRITUAL CAPACITY. The thing to be grasped needs a special strength of heart and soul; the heart needs to be enlarged, the mental “hands of the arms” need to be made strong (Genesis 49:24). But the attainment is not impossible – it is the experience of “all the saints;” all God’s children are enabled to grasp something of this (comp. 2 Corinthians 4:3-6).

“What is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height.

No genitive being given, it has been a difficult point to settle to what these dimensions must be held to be applicable.”

If a genitive must be supplied, may we not conceive the apostle to have had in his view THE ENTIRE PROVISION GOD HAS MADE IN CHRIST FOR THE GOOD OF HIS PEOPLE, so that the dimensions would be those of the gospel storehouse, the vast reservoir out of which the Church is filled?

“Breadth” might denote the manifoldness of that provision; “length,” its eternal duration; its “depth” might be represented by the profundity of Christ’s humiliation; and its “height” by the loftiness of the condition to which his people are to be raised.

To comprehend this, to understand its existence and its richness, is to get our faith enlarged, our expectations expanded; it is through THIS comprehension that “all the saints” have got their wants supplied, and their souls filled as with marrow and fatness.

[Quoted from ‘The Pulpit Commentary]


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