The Character of Agape Love

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Author's Bias | Interpretation: conservative

Agape love

Unique to the human vocabulary, the term for God's love "agape" is found only in the Bible. The nature of God's love stands in stark contrast to the only other Greek terms for love, "phileō," "erōs," and "storge," which are usually conditional and often involve some form of personal benefit.

For God so loved (agapaō) the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

With this act, the holy God makes a self sacrificing act for the unholy demonstrating an unfathomable depth of "agapē" love for His "good creation."

John’s prologue provides a dimension of time that contributes to the incomprehensible depth of God's "agapē" love (John 1:1-4). As Jesus is the means of expressing God's love, His preexistence before His birth infers that God’s love was His purpose from the very beginning.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. (John 1:1-4)

Of all of the supernatural characteristics of God, Believers are asked to mimic only one - His "agapē" love (1 John 3:16). Jesus explicitly explains that "agapē love is really about in two commands:

Jesus replied: "'Love (agapaō) 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 (agapaō) your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matt 22:37-40)

In view of His Son’s sacrifice and these two commandments, the primary purpose of "agapē" love is initial salvation for non-Believers and sanctification salvation for Believers. God's character of "agapē" love provided the means and motive by which one may be obliged to fulfill God's command, "be holy for I am holy" (1 Pet 1:16).

To learn more, see:

God is Love

How does the Holy Spirit sanctify human beings?

Series: The Doctrine on God
God is Immutable

Series: The Doctrine on God
The Character of Moral Goodness

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