By CARLOS SPENCER
There is some misunderstanding about the meaning of Agape love among believers. Agape originates from the Greek language and Agape love is very different from love in its various other forms. At the heart of Agape love is the concept of self sacrifice, putting the needs and welfare of others before our own. It is exceptional and particular in its composition, and according to scripture, Agape love is completely distinct from romance or sexual love. It does not refer to charity, brotherly love or close friendships. Agape love is love in its purest altruistic from, and can only emanate from God. Scripture tells us in John 3: 16 (KJV): “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.”
Only God can bestow Agape love upon us. We are sinners by our very nature and we could never develop Agape love without the grace of the Holy Spirit. Luke 19:10 (KJV) records: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Matthew 18:11 (KJV) mentions the same principle, virtually verbatim: “For the son of man is come to save that which was lost.”
God plants this unique, Agape love within our hearts, because He is God and God is about love. The existence of Agape love within us is precisely God being true to His nature. We are not deserving of God’s unconditional love because of our sinful make-up, but this is not an issue with God. He sent Jesus to teach us His way, and to save us from eternal damnation. Christ died to save us from death due to our sins and trespasses against God and the Apostle Paul makes this point in Ephesians 2:1 (KJV): “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”
Luke 10:27 (KJV) makes it clear that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind....and our neighbour as ourselves. Jesus says in Mark 12:30 (KJV): “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”
An excellent illustration of Agape love in action is the story of the good Samaritan outlined in Luke 10:25-37. Jesus requires that we live, one for another, particularly where sacrifice is necessary, even if we are hated or despised by those we seek to assist. Agape love looks beyond the fragility and (sometimes) apathy of human nature, to a Holy Spirit-driven love that dwells in our hearts, and placed there by God Himself.
God’s Agape love for us is ineffable and is more easily demonstrated than explained in words. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:35 (KJV): “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Verses 38-39 conclude: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.