Pastor Allen asks, “In 2 Cor. 5:14, is the ‘love of Christ’ that compels us the love that we have for Christ or the love that Christ has for us?”
Both the options he mentions are possible grammatically.
But Paul explains what he means when he adds, “because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died…that we should live for Him.”
The context suggests that Paul is talking about Christ’s love for us. His love for us compels us to love Him back.
Compare 1 John 4:19.
It is possible that Paul intended both meanings: His love for us and our resulting love for Him compel us to serve Him.
Most commentators see this as Christ’s love for us. Murray Harris comments:
Very few commentators take tou Christou as an objective genitive (“love of Christ,” “our love for Christ”), the vast majority regarding it as a subjective genitive (“Christ’s love,” “the love Christ showed”; cf. Gal. 2:20). Support for this latter view may be found in: (a) Pauline usage, in which a personal genitive after agape always denotes the person having or showing love, not the one receiving it, and in which Christ is never the object of believers’ agape; and (b) the immediate context, where the focus is on Christ’s death (apethanen…apethanen…to…apothananonti, vv. 14–15) as an evidence of his self-sacrificial love. But several scholars believe that both senses were intended by Paul. Commenting on this phrase, Zerwick (§36) maintains that “in interpreting the sacred text…we must beware lest we sacrifice to clarity of meaning part of the fulness of the meaning.” No one doubts that believers’ love for Christ motivates their actions, but here Paul is concentrating on an earlier stage of motivation, namely the love shown by Christ in dying for humankind (The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, pp. 418-19).
The reason we take the Lord’s Supper every week (or often) is because it is a visual reminder that Jesus expressed His love for us when He died on the cross. His broken body and shed blood should ever be on our minds. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).