Have you ever heard the phrase that “love will make you do some reckless things”? How many of you have ever experienced a love so strong that it causes you to behave differently; to become reckless? We all know “those couples” that do some absolutely reckless things all in the name of love. Or maybe you were that couple.
There are so many people in our culture that talk about how love made them make reckless decisions. R&B artist Jazmine Sullivan said in a song that she busted car windows because love made her reckless. The “Queen Bey,” Beyoncé, sang that love made her crazy, made her reckless. Award winning artist Adele says in her song “to be loved” that she cried and lied all … to be … loved … reckless.
But not just in music do we hear about reckless love. Zora Neale Hurston says that “Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place”; it makes us behave differently. Famous actress Joan Crawford said “Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your heart or burn down your house, you can never tell.”
Love can make a person reckless. This is what Paul is saying to the Ephesians that God does for them. Paul reminds the Ephesians about the lengths that God went to just to save their soul.
God’s reckless love was needed because …
All of Humanity Died in Sin
We can trace this back to Adam and Eve, the first humans, who introduced sin into the world because they disobeyed God. But you must remember that though they introduced sin, they do not make you sin.
All of us have made the conscious choice to commit sin in our lives. And because of our sins, we earned death. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. This means that we earned death, we deserve death because of our actions.
This happened because, as Paul says in verse two, that this was how we lived under the influence of the “ruler of the kingdom of the air.” In this phrase, Paul is not necessarily referring to Satan in person, but to the influence that Satan has on the earth.
Paul is saying that sin is everywhere, even in the air. It’s like the expression “it must be something in the air”; Paul is saying that the influence of Satan is all over the earth and has made humanity follow in his footsteps.
And in verse three, Paul reminds us that it’s not just one people group that has a sin problem. Paul says all people, including himself, used to live for the purpose of gratifying our flesh.
Gratifying the flesh and living according to desires can take many forms. Such as a cuss first, ask questions later mentality. Or a mentality that seeks to escape the cares of this world through illicit drug use and binge drinking. Or living by the desires for pleasure from the next man or woman to increase a “body count.” Or even heeding to the desire to gossip about your fellow brother or sister.
No amount of church going, tithing, singing, praying, clapping, or preaching can make a difference in the fact that we all deserve to suffer the wrath of God because of our sins. And because of this, what we deserved was death; eternal separation from God.
But though humanity died in sin …
God’s Reckless Love Raised You Up from the Dead
Paul says that it is because of the great love that God had for us. I’m sure most of you here have heard about the different Greek words for “love.” The word that’s used here is agape. This love is an action; agape love is a love that is faithful beyond what the societal norms are. Agape love is reckless love.
It is because of this reckless love that God does the unthinkable. God, out of his reckless love, raised you and I up from the dead, even though we died in our transgressions.
Now you might be tempted to say, “Zach, how does God do this?” You see, the God we serve is a wealthy God. Paul says that God is rich in mercy, which is what he extends to you and me to raise us from the dead.
Mercy can be defined as withholding a negative consequence from someone that they indeed deserve, meaning that God withheld from you and you and me the death we deserved. And this is all from God’s immense bank account full of mercy. This then is the second part of Romans 6:23 with the full version being “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” Amen!
Now those that believe in Christ are raised to life with Christ. Paul is referring to the miraculous work that the Holy Spirit did in raising Jesus from the dead. That is what Paul says happened to all of us! God’s reckless love, in the form of the Holy Spirit, found us dead in our transgressions and raised us from the dead when he raised his precious Son Jesus!
Now we can sing with the psalmists that because he lives, I can face tomorrow. Because he lives, all fear is gone. Because I know he holds the future. And life is worth the living because he lives.
Because of God’s reckless love, God extends mercy to us, but thats not all. As I’ve mentioned before, God extends resurrection life to us by his grace. Grace is God gifting us something that we did not deserve. And that is life in and with Christ Jesus. This grace has delivered us from Sin past, present, and future. God’s reckless love has raised you from the dead.
The reason for your resurrection is because …
Your Resurrection Is Evidence of God’s Reckless Love
As I stated before, when Christ was resurrected, we too were resurrected with him in heaven. God, through Christ has made our final resting place heaven, which is where Jesus is, seated at the right hand of God the Father. No longer are we a citizen of this world, but we are now a permanent resident in the kingdom of God.
This has happened so that we might be an instrument to God’s revelation of his incomparable grace to all of creation. God had a plan for our salvation. That plan is to use us as beacons that shine his grace upon the rest of creation.
Everyone turn to your neighbor and say “Neighbor, you’re looking at a grace case!” The only reason that I’m standing here is because of grace! The only reason that I’m alive today is because of grace!
God, out of love for you, reached back into his eternal bank account to withdraw some grace, that he now has given so that we may showcase just how good God is to us. Your resurrection is evidence of God’s reckless love. Do you need God’s reckless love?
God ultimately showed his reckless love for us by going to a hill called Calvary.
His love for us made him do the unthinkable. He withstood the mocking; he withstood the beating; he withstood the whipping, all because of his reckless love.
His reckless love nailed him in his hands, nailed him in his feet, pierced him in his side, all for you and me. And he died. But early on the third day, his reckless love raised him from the grave.
This same love is what raised you and me. I don’t know about you, but I thank God for his reckless love. His incomparable love. His inconceivable love. Because this love extended grace to a man like me.
Amazing grace. How sweet the sound? That saved a wretch like me.
God’s love picked me up, turned me around, and placed my feet on solid ground.
And I can say Oh the overwhelming. Oh the never ending, reckless love of God!
It chases me down. Chases you down. It fights till I’m found. Fights till your found. It leaves the 99!
I couldn’t earn it. You couldn’t earn it. But God still gives his love away.
Oh the overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God’s reckless love will comfort you every time you need it.
Zach Barber graduated with an M.Div from Truett Seminary. He was licensed for ministry in July 2021 at Consolidated Baptist Church in Lexington, KY.