Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 3:18-21 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
One’s soul can ride Christ’s giant waves into eternity on the glorious depths of these two phenomenal passages. Indeed, when the mind and heart understand the depth of truth here, what results is an endless water spring of spiritual nourishment.
Yet, one may wonder how truths this marvelous get off the ground. Isn’t understanding necessary to know the peace of God that surpasses understanding? Likewise, isn’t knowledge necessary to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge? Maybe this seems confusing, maybe even contradictory. How can one have understanding of peace that surpasses understanding (Phil. 4:7) and knowledge of love that surpasses knowledge (Eph. 3:19)?
The answer to these questions is in knowing the limitlessness of Christ our Lord and God. Truly in Christ peace and love are unbounded and limitless (Gal. 5:22-23). Yes, it is true that knowledge and understanding begin with hearing the word of God (Rom. 10). But, the beginning of knowledge and understanding is not the end of the matter. The direction of peace and love are from God to man. But, when man tries to comprehend the fullness and the limits of God’s love and peace he’ll become undone (cf. Is. 6).
God is the cause and believers are the blessed recipients of this great effect. The depths, expanse and magnitude of Christ’s peace and love far exceed the finite capacities of our human minds and abilities. What God is saying is that men begin to understand peace, but in Christ peace is never exhausted. In fact, this peace is a guard to the heart and mind (Phil. 4:7). Christ is the prince of Peace and the mind and heart flourish in his ways of peace (Is. 9:6, John 14:27).
Similarly, knowledge leads to the love of Christ, but this knowledge of love is not exhausted by human finite capacities. In essence in Christ, the knowledge of his love begins, but is unbounded in breadth, length, height, and depth. Human understanding can begin to know a love this amazing, but it is not confined, bound, exhausted, or depleted by finite human understanding. Again, this love flows from the infinite God to the finite man.
At some point, man’s finite knowledge is tapped out, maximized, or exhausted. At some point the cup of human reasoning and observation overflow with abundance so great that the heart echoes- who am I to behold something so wonderful (cf. Psalm 23:5, Psalm 8)? Even when every attempt by brilliant men on any given number of topics is depleted, God keeps knowing. In these two passages it is knowledge of peace and love that keep on going. Even when it seems our knowledge of God has found its limits, God’s love and peace are unbounded. Knowing his love at some point exceeds the greatest brilliance of finite men.
As the faithful trust and believe in the God of all knowledge, they trust in a power beyond what they see and know. When Paul was confronted with the greatness of the mind of God he said “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways” (Rom. 11:33)!
Other passages help us to see the contrast between the finite nature of man in contrast to the infinite nature of God. Isaiah 55:8-9 states, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” The infinite God reveals truth, but does not reveal everything to his finite creation (John 8:32, Deut. 29:29). Man may seek all his life to know certain things, yet die leaving his hearts questions and searches to know to another (Eccl. 8:17).
Finally, the reality of the surpassing knowledge and understanding of God differs from the teachings of contemporary postmodernists. Their notions that one can approach or approximate truth, but never arrive at truth is not helpful. Truth, in postmodernism, in the end becomes a great guess. In Christ knowledge of peace and love are an ever flowing well spring of spiritual life (John 4:7-15). These are realized with certainty, but not exhausted. Men should want more than educated guesses. They should want defensible and certain truth. This certainty is in Christ (Luke 1:4, Acts 2:36) and praise God that while love and peace begin, they will never be never be exhausted. May God help us to drink on!