Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about Agape Love.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Before taking a closer look at Agape, let’s look at the four different words in the Bible for love:
- Eros: erotic love. This is not found in either the Old Testament or New Testament.
- Storge: empathy. This is in the Bible and has to deal with having empathy for someone.
- Philia or Phileo: friendship, having tender affection for someone or something. While this can include sexual it is usually in relationship to brotherly love. We get philanthropia, love of people, from it; also philanthropy, love of humanity.
- Agape: sacrificial love. Best example is God loves us no matter what!
The problem we have in today’s society is that while love is on the minds of people, even to the point of emphasizing God is love, it usually is speaking of Eros or, at best, Phileo. Simply put the unbelieving world doesn’t know the difference between the different types of love, so they bring God’s love down to what they understand thereby polluting it.
Agape love actually doesn’t have a definitive meaning. Sacrificial love probably comes the closest, but it still doesn’t catch the whole meaning. That is why when describing it we often need examples. The example above (John 3:16) shows sacrificial love and a whole lot more. How do you describe the kind of love it took for God the Son to suffer separation from God the Father for even a second? And He did it for us! Yes, it is Agape love at its best but it is impossible to define it with any more meaning in man’s tongue.
Yet we are commanded to have Agape love. In John 13:34 we are told to love one another, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” That is not talking about sexual love or even friendly love, but rather a sacrificial love for one another. We Christians are to be known by that kind of love with the added “especially of the household of faith.”
What doesn’t Agape love mean?”
As stated above it doesn’t mean sexual love. Nor does it mean brotherly love. Sometimes the world wants us to be more loving toward those who are gross sinners. They use Scripture that contains the Agape love as their basis. That is pure ignorance of the Word of God. God loves everyone but not their sins. And that is what we as Christians need to be: love the sinner but hate the sin. That’s hard to do because many people in the bondage of sin want you to “tolerate” their sin which the Bible condemns.
The fact of the matter is everyone was born a sinner. Each one of us is born with a natural bent toward sin of any type. God understands this, which is why it was necessary for Him to send His Son to pay the penalty for sin. But Christ’s sacrifice of His life and His Divine oneness with the Father isn’t a Get Out of Jail card enabling us to sin and then use the card when necessary. It is a Gift Card paid for by Jesus Christ. It has eternal value but cannot be used as an excuse for illicit activities.
So God wants us to show a sacrificial love toward everyone. We are to judge sin as He judges it, but we are to love the sinner with open arms restoring them as much as is possible. This is particularly true of our love for the brethren (other born again people).
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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.