Of all the concepts known to man, love is the most mysterious most powerful and most misunderstood. It is often mimicked and maligned and many are seduced by its counterfeit cousins’ lust and desire. The Bible describes the love of God this way:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
Without God’s love, we would not be here today exploring its meaning. For it is the love of God that has saved us and allows us the opportunity to choose freely to love Him in return.
The love of God is the highest and greatest of all, for God Himself is love. 1 John 4:8 All relationships since creation seeks to attain that love and to maintain and perpetuate it through each generation. His love is timeless, it reaches out from beyond eternity to our present reality in time and is expressed in the finished work of Jesus Christ. The Bible explains that in the fullness of time God sent His Son to rescue us from the curse of our rebellion and to be adopted as His children. Gal 4:4-7
The Old Testament is the narrative of creation and the prophecy of the coming king. The New Testament details how this prophecy was fulfilled and how our loving God rescues all who believe.
Jesus gives us a great lesson about the type of love He had for us and came to express. In the research on love, you may come across anywhere from 3 to 14 types of love. In Jesus time the Greeks recognized 4 types of love.
- Philia is a love found in strong relationships such as friends who support and encourage each other. We may have many friends and acquaintances but few that share mutual trust and confidence. This is a love on has for a true friend committed to a long-term relationship.
- Eros describes the passion and intimacy found in a romance between lovers. Eros is a committed devotion to one particular individual where passion and intimacy is the result of a relationship that incorporates the types of love described here. The sexual expression of which is reserved for a man and a woman as husband and wife.
- Storge is reflected in the loving relationship of a family. Strong families are built upon the characteristics of this love. The family unit is built up and strengthened by mutual compassion, empathy, and affection.
- Agape is a selfless and unconditional love. Loving another regardless of faults or failures. It is more than a friendship or a romance. It is a higher form of love that we are called to approach. It is a Christ-like love.
The Agape love of our creator is a love beyond all understanding. It reaches into the darkness and shines light upon our path. It builds up rather than tears down. This unconditional love reaches out selflessly, gives sacrificially and is concerned only with the well being of others. Here is a love that sees the need and provides, that seeks out and rescues those in peril, who are lost, confused, hopeless, depressed, and fatigued. This love brings victory to the defeated, dignity to the shamed, righteousness to the degraded and the depraved. This love rescues humanity from all its failures, and heartaches, and its total depravity. God’s love reaches out and says I made you, I love you, learn of me, seek me and I will be found, turn to me and I will pick you up. Isaiah 1:18, Isaiah 55:6-7, Matt 7:7-12, Matt 11:28-30
Jesus is God in the flesh and as He placed his arms outstretched on the cross, His love overpowered all temptation to curse and condemn His creation. He recalled the words He spoke earlier to the people in town. “No one takes my life – I lay it down freely” John 10:17-18 As He remembers gazing over Jerusalem from the hillside and weeping over the condition of His people, Jesus surrenders His earthly life in pain and anguish. He cries out “It is finished” John 19:29-30 God came to the earth He created to confront and defeat death. “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. “ Hebrews 12:2-3 He now calls us to believe and rejoice in Him and His love and Eternal Kingdom