The depths of God

by Mike Ratliff

6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written, “ Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. (1 Corinthians 2:6-10 NASB)

I’m sure the title of this post struck some of you in a way hard to explain. When I first started this study, I could not help but think back on an investigation I did many years ago into some false teachings by a man who claimed that his ministry was based entirely “in the deep things of God.” That mysterious statement seemed to be used by him as a smokescreen to hide the fact that he was teaching rank heresy and that heresy was claimed by him to be coming to him as a direct revelation from God. Well, if that were true then it would indeed be “the deep things of God,” but what he was teaching was very shallow spiritually and really called for people to become submissive to him as a prophet based on one thing; he said so. This is not what the depths of God (the deeps things of God) are. Let us take a closer look. 

Carefully read 1 Corinthians 2:6-10, which I placed at the top of this post. In that passage from the NASB, the word “depths” translates the Greek noun βάθη, which is the Accusative, Plural of βάθος or bathos. In this context, Paul is using a word that refers to “deep water” to make the analogy in an attempt to describe the profundities and deep-laid plans of God. We find this word in Luke 5:4 and Matthew 13:5 as well in which it is used analogously to refer fullness, abundance and immensity. Paul used it again in Romans 11:33 to refer to “an extreme degree.”

In Matthew 13:1-9, our Lord gave us the parable of the Sower. Here this word for “depth” was used in v5 in the literal sense where “Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil…” However, in 1 Corinthians 2:6-10, as I stated above, this word referring to the Depths of God, refers to greatness, immensity, profoundness, inscrutability, and abstruseness. We also find this word in Ephesians 3:18. Here it is in context.

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19 NASB)

Paul’s desire is that believers comprehend the four dimensions of God’s love: breadth, length, height, and depth. The depth of Christ’s love shows us what? It shows us that God has reached down from His level to our level. We do not deserve this at all. This is the one dimension of Christ’s love that should break our hearts when we begin to fully realize it my brethren.

1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10 NASB)

Why did Christ die for us? He did it because He loved us even though there is nothing lovable about us (Romans 1:21-32 and 3:10-18). Those of us in Christ should rejoice and humbly worship and praise our God from grateful hearts because His love is deeper than our depravity.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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