Agape Love


"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance...Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7,13 NLT

Why Does God Love Us?

This question is among the most profound questions ever asked. And no human would ever be able to answer it sufficiently. One thing is certain, however. God does not love us because we are lovable or because we deserve His love. If anything, the opposite is true. The state of mankind since the fall is one of rebellion and disobedience. Jeremiah 17:9 describes man’s inner condition: “The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” Our innermost beings are so corrupted by sin that even we don’t realize the extent to which sin has tainted us. In our natural state, we do not seek God; we do not love God; we do not desire God. Romans 3:10-12 clearly presents the state of the natural, unregenerate person: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” How then is it possible for a holy, righteous, and perfect God to love such creatures? To understand this we must understand something of the nature and character of God.

First John 4:8 and 16 tell us that “God is love.” Never was a more important declaration made than this; never was more meaning crowded into a few words than in this short sentence -— God is love. This is a profound statement. God doesn’t just love; He is love. His nature and essence are love. Love permeates His very being and infuses all His other attributes, even His wrath and anger. Because God’s very nature is love, He must demonstrate love, just as He must demonstrate all His attributes because doing so glorifies Him. Glorifying God is the highest, the best, and the most noble of all acts, so, naturally, glorifying Himself is what He must do, because He is the highest and the best, and He deserves all glory.

Since it is God's essential nature to love, He demonstrates His love by lavishing it on undeserving people who are in rebellion against Him. God’s love, is not a sappy, sentimental, romantic feeling. Rather, it is agape love, the love of self-sacrifice. He demonstrates this sacrificial love by sending His Son to the cross to pay the penalty for our sin, by drawing us to Himself, by forgiving us of our rebellion against Him, and by sending His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, thereby enabling us to love as He loves. He did this in spite of the fact that we did not deserve it. "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

God's love is personal. He knows each of us individually & loves us personally. His is a mighty love that has no beginning nor end. It is in experiencing God’s love that distinguishes Christianity from all other religions. Why does God love us? It is because of who He is: "God is love."

C.S. Lewis called God’s Love a "gift". God's Love is a gift because there are "no strings attached" to it. There are no conditions to fill, nothing to earn, nothing to do & nothing to be. Agape Love just loves unconditionally, spontaneously and continually.

Let me share a story: Many years ago, there was a nine-year-old girl flying with her parents from England to the United States to have a kidney transplant. The child's condition was very precarious, so the operation was essential. The cost of the procedure was going to be $30,000. The parents had done all they could in Britain to raise the huge sum of money. However, they had only managed to raise $7,000, far short of the total needed. But they made the trip anyway, hoping for a miracle. And, they certainly found one!

When some of the passengers aboard that jetliner heard about the little girl's plight, they spread the word. People all over that plane began to personally involve themselves in this little girl's life. Unconditionally they began to give of themselves. Some men gave their expensive gold watches and whatever cash they had. One man wrote a check for $10,000. Ladies gave their fur coats, their jewelry and any other valuables they had.

The precious people aboard that 747 jetliner raised an amazing $23,000 towards the little girl's operation. That, plus the $7,000 that the family had raised on their own, made the exact amount needed.

The beautiful thing about this story is that the little girl's nationality, her religion or her social status had nothing at all to do with the decision those people made on that plane to love her unconditionally. They just gave of themselves--all they had to give-"with no strings attached."

When I think of this story, I think of Agape Love . . . it's an unconditional giving of oneself for another. It’s a one-sided love, because it doesn't have to be returned in order to be kept alive. In other words, it's not, "I will love you, if you love me." Instead, it’s, "I will love you, no matter what." This kind of love not only frees the one loving from expectations and presumptions, but it also frees the one being loved to respond from his/her heart. In other words, Agape Love lets us be who we truly are.

Agape Love is a gift that gives itself to the poor & the rich, to the needy & the full, to the ugly and the beautiful, to the broken and the whole. In other words, Agape Love is for everyone.

The whole Bible is summed up in this one word, Agape. The Bible defines it like this: "Agape is patient and kind, never jealous, envious, boastful or proud, never selfish or rude. It doesn't demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It doesn't hold grudges and will never even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices when truth wins out. If you love someone with Agape Love, you will be loyal to them no matter the cost. You will always believe in them, always expect the best of them, and always defend them. Agape love never fails... but these three remain, Faith, Hope and Agape, but the greatest of these is Agape.” (paraphrase of 1 Cor. 13:4-7,13)

God's Love is a gift "with no strings attached" from the Person who created us, who loves us and who desires for us to have abundant life. And, you know what? That Love already has our name on it...Isaiah 49:16, “I have inscribed you upon the palms of My hands." That Love is free for the asking. All we must do is reach up and grab hold of it. God will do the rest.

God, our Father, may we love You in all things and above all things. May we reach the joy which You have prepared for us in Heaven. Nothing is good that is against Your Will, and all that is good comes from Your Hand. Place in our hearts a desire to please You, and fill our minds with thoughts of Your Love, so that we may grow in Your wisdom and enjoy Your Agape Love, now and forever. Amen.
May 5 2019