A story recalled from Bergen-Belsen — a prisoner “strikes up a friendship with a doctor named Marie. The two are talking one day when a Polish prisoner comes to Marie for help. She is not sick — she is about to give birth. At first Fania and Marie panic, but then they collect themselves and have the woman lie down on a table. Silence is imperative, so the woman, ‘teeth clenched,’ uttered not a word. She knew the fate of children at the hands of the SS. Fortunately, the child arrives quickly, There are no scissors, Marie cuts the cord with her teeth. There is no water, Fania rips the lining out of her coat, fashions a crude version of swaddling clothes, and wraps up the baby, still covered with blood. The woman, who has not yet said a word” — dresses, puts on her shoes, and takes her child in her arms in a wonderful gesture of possession and protection. Both mother and child survive.” Story taken from “Facing the Extreme” by Tzuetan Todorov.
Taken from A.T. Robertson on 2 Corinthians 5:14, a commentary on love:
The love of Christ is “shutting us up to one line and purpose, as in a narrow, walled road,”
Because One went through death “in behalf , so that the rest will not have to die.”
Logical conclusion — “the one died for the all and so the all died when He did.”
Question, can a person lay down their life for another if indeed another has not laid down their life for them?
Well, a person can give their body to be burned, (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.) However, without charity, “love,” it profits nothing.
But, 1 John 3:16 teaches us how to perceive love, “because He (Christ), laid down his life for us” it follows:
“and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
So, as Todorov’s story goes, two, positioned to perform an act of supreme benevolence, risked their own lives to save a mother and child, who both survived.
Oddly enough, we have no way of telling whether or not these two who sacrificed were doing it out of love. And strangely enough, if love, the true love of 2 Corinthians 5:14, is not present, the work profits nothing.
What is this true love? It is a love born of a judgment, a discernment, an evaluation.
- First judgment, that Christ died for all, He laid down His life. This was true love — the just dying for the unjust, the innocent for the guilty.
- Second, is a conclusion of that act of true love — we are all dead — and participating in the benefit of that death — a penalty paid for, a death sentence served, a freedom received, a life redeemed from any further punishment, including what we deserve — death.
- Third, through death Christ destroyed the power of death over a life, enabling a glorious resurrection unto newness, never again to live in the fear of dying.
Are we getting the picture?
Love finds it’s birth in this brand new un-accusable state of dwelling in the all-encompassing love of the Savior.
With this love we love. With this love we share, we love not our lives unto the death.
In closing, Revelation 12:9-10 speaks of a time yet future, but applies also to today:
“… for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by
- the blood of the Lamb, and
- by the word of their testimony; and
- they loved not their lives unto the death.
These are overcomers. Capable of love, capable of extreme sacrifice, they have passed from death unto life. In the words of Jesus Himself:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Brothers and sisters, Love one another,