God’s demonstration of agape love led to the sacrifice of the Son of God for those He loves. Now, those of us who have been touched by this love are being called to love others with it - whether they are fellow believers (John 13:34) or bitter enemies (Matthew 5:44):
John 13:34 - A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
Matthew 5:44 - But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan as an example of sacrifice for the sake of others, even for those who may care nothing at all for us. Agape love, as modeled for us by Jesus, is not based on a feeling; it’s not dependent on our emotions. This love responds rightly regardless of how we feel. It is a determined act of the will, a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own.
I know this does not come out in “the heat of the moment” for most of us. Many times, the last thing you’re thinking about when someone hurts you is “Oh… let me see… how could I bless them?” But love - God’s agape love- lives on the inside of you IF you are a Born-Again child of God. And, that love – the Love of God inside of us - desires to respond “through us” in EVERY situation we face.
But agape love does not come naturally to us because of our fallen nature. Because of our fallen nature, we are incapable of producing this love on our own. If we are to love as God loves, that love—that agape—can only come from its “Source” as revealed in Romans 5:5. This is the love that “has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” when we became His children. This shows us unless we have this Holy Spirit-living on the inside of us through the new birth-we are incapable of having this love.
1 John 3:16 - This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters”
Galatians 5:22 - Because of God’s love toward us, we are able to love one another.
Jesus taught that the greatest two commandments both include this love, the greatest gift.
Look at Matthew 22:37–40:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”
Love is the greatest gift because it is the gift that is given away. FAITH and HOPE serve us - but love serves others. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift. Love is central to God’s character and central to the Christian life. Love infuses all that God does and should infuse all that we do.
As God’s sons and daughters, we are called to bring Him glory and honor. I hope through this study you have been inspired to take your faith, hope, and love to the Next Level. After all, as we have learned faith, hope, and love will be with us forever. Let’s be intentional in allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us into Christ’s image - through having steadfast faith in the midst of trials, biblical hope that doesn’t waiver, and walking in the kind of love that reflects the very nature and character of our God.