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Agape Love

 

 

IMPORTANCE of Agape Love

     If you could describe God in one word, what would it be?   The answer, of course, is “love.”   We are told in 1 John 4:8 that “God is love.”

     The Apostle Paul spoke of three great qualities—faith, hope, and love—but he stated that the greatest of them is love (1 Cor.13:13).   Consider also verses 2–3: “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing."    What a powerful statement concerning the importance of love!

     When we read in Galatians 5 of the fruits of God’s Spirit, what is the very first fruit listed?   Love!  (verse 22).

     Very plainly, then, “love” is extremely important to God.   Again, God is love.

     Yet, it's vital to understand that the love being spoken of is not “human” love!   Rather, it is Godly love—agape love.

     "Agape" is the word used in the original Greek:  “faith, hope and agape  “but [if I] have not agape, I am nothing.”   “God is agape.”

 

Different From Human Love

     As the Apostle John stated: “This is the love of God that we keep His commandments” (I John 5:3).   Yet, agape love involves far more than just keeping “the letter of the law.”   Agape is an all-encompassing attitude that we apply in every aspect of our lives!   God’s love—His way of life—is the way of outgoing concern for others.  It is the way of “give.”   It is the attitude of serving (Mark 10:43–45).  It is the way of helping and cooperating.

     In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Christ showed that the Samaritan—unlike the priest and the Levite—went far out of his way to help the stranger in need.  Christ ended the parable by telling us,“Go and do likewise”!  (Luke 10:30–37).

     I Cor.13 is known as "the love chapter."   It describes the attributes of agape love.  Of all the attributes discussed in this “love chapter,” perhaps the most important is given in verse 5, which states that agape “does not seek its own.”    Instead of being primarily self-seeking, Godly love has its focus on others!

     No, agape love is not self-centered.  It does not seek its own.   This is not natural, human love!    "Agape" is God's love; and the only way a human can have agape love is by receiving it from God, as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:22).

     God wants us to express His love to all men (1 Thess.3:12).   The Apostle Paul said, “As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good unto all men” (Gal.6:10, KJV).   This outgoing concern is to be a way of life—expressed at all times, and to all individuals.

     Agape does not require reciprocation.  We are to love others whether or not they love us in return!   We are to love others even if we know we will receive evil in return!  (Psalm 35:11–14).   Love your enemies,” said Christ, and “do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” (Luke 6:27–28).

     Again, this type of love is not something we have naturally.  It is only by receiving this love from God that we can come to feel and express this agape love to others.

 

An Active, Flowing CIRCUIT

     It is only if a person deeply repents, surrendering his life in obedience to God---and is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ---it is only then that the individual can have God’s Holy Spirit within him (Acts 2:38; 5:32).   Then, God’s very agape love is poured into his heart through the Holy Spirit.  “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Rom.5:5, NRSV).

     Furthermore, God’s Spirit---God’s love--- is active….flowing!   It is poured out from God into our hearts, and then it proceeds forth from us:  “…while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me,  and let the one who believes in me drink.  As the scripture has said, "Out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water."’  Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive…” (John 7:37-39, NRSV).

     So, when a Christian expresses agape love, he is merely returning God’s own love to Him---or, is expressing God’s love to fellowman.   God’s love is an active, flowing circuit!

     When a person has the Holy Spirit dwelling within him, he is a partaker “of the divine nature”  (II Peter 1:4; Gal.2:20).   Yes, the individual is then partaking of God’s very nature!   And the most important aspect of God’s nature, is love---Godly love---agape love!