“I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” -John 17:26
The Love God has for Jesus that He invites us to receive and walk in is called AGAPE. This Greek word agape is often translated love in the New Testament. How is agape love different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is goodwill, benevolence, and a pure delight in the object of love.
Unlike our English word love, agape is not used in the New Testament to refer to romantic or sexual love which is Greek is called Eros. And, it does not refer to close friendship or brotherly love, for which the Greek word phileo is used. Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It always acts rightly – it is not persuaded or influenced by circumstances, emotions, or feelings. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its high moral nature and strong character.
Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It is a love that is ALWAYS patient and kind. It is a love that is NEVER envious or jealous – a love that NEVER boasts or is inflated with pride. It NEVER looks to dishonor others. This is a love that is NOT self-seeking, is NOT easily angered, and keeps NO record of suffered wrongs. It is a love that NEVER delights in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It ALWAYS protects, ALWAYS trusts, ALWAYS hopes, and ALWAYS perseveres. GOD’S LOVE NEVER FAILS!
Agape is used to describe the love that is of and from God, whose very nature is love itself: “God is love” (1 John 4:8). God does not merely have love; He is love!
Everything God does flows from His love. So even when we find ourselves in the midst of great trials – the question for the Christian in a trial is not: “Why is God letting this happen to me?” The question for the Christian in a trial is: “What Lord do you want me to see?” What can I learn through this? You see, when we are anchored in the truth that GOD IS LOVE, we can be confident that God is allowing this trial in my life for a reason – not to harm me but to perfect me.
Because GOD IS LOVE, I KNOW like I KNOW that HE ALWAYS has my best interest in mind – regardless of the trials I face.
As Christians, we are to be rooted and grounded in this love:
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every familyin heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 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.
Rooted and grounded here means “to build under you a deep and stable foundation of knowing and understanding the love of God for you.” In other words, the knowledge of God’s love for us is the foundational truth upon which all other truths must be built! Without this foundation – your walk with Christ will always be shaky and uncertain.
The Greek word for comprehend here suggests “to eagerly seize or lay hold of.” The Apostle Paul is telling us to seize this truth and make it the foundation of your Christian life. He is telling us: Put out your spiritual hands and say, “I am going to take hold of this!”
Look at John 10:27-30:
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Jesus said that which the Father has placed in my hands no one will snatch them away! Church, how GREAT is the Father’s Love for us? It is overwhelming!
God’s Love for us is not a silly, sentimental feeling we often associate with love. God’s love is CONSTANT and UNCHANGING because that is His nature and the expression of who He is. He loves the unlovable and the unlovely, not because we deserve to be loved, or because of any excellence we possess, but because it is His nature to love and He must be true to His nature. To KNOW the love of God is to KNOW God Himself.
Beloved, do you know Him in this way? Do you know that the greatest expression of His love for you is found at the Cross? We see it clearly in Ephesians 2:4–5:
“God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved”
Church, not one of us deserved such a sacrifice, “but God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This shows us how much God’s agape love is unmerited, gracious, and constantly seeking the benefit of the ones He loves. God’s Love ALWAYS has your best interest in mind!
Check back next week for our final lesson in this series.