Valentine’s Day is coming up this week. I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. But I am a big fan of LOVE, true love! Today let’s look at the authority on this subject. The Bible has a lot to say about love! Let’s look at love and what true love really is and how it acts.
Love is a huge and permeating theme in the bible! According to Bible Gateway, the word love is used 471 times in the bible.
Let’s talk about LOVE!
First, let me say that LOVE is such a huge concept that it cannot be fully explained here in this post! Not even close.
But to begin to understand love we must first understand…
GOD IS LOVE!
We can find this written in 1 John 4:8. WOW! What a huge thought in three little words!
God is the source of love, and it is God’s whole and perfect character!
Love is God’s moral character, the way He relates to man. He relates to us though love!
Without God, there would be no love!
Before we go any further it’s important to distinguish what God’s love looks like. 1 John 4:16 says…
AND WE HAVE COME TO KNOW AND HAVE BELIEVED THE LOVE WHICH GOD HAS FOR US. GOD IS LOVE, AND THE ONE WHO ABIDES IN LOVE ABIDES IN GOD, AND GOD ABIDES IN HIM.
The word for LOVE in the original Greek is Agape (ah-gah-pe’). It is a word that is exclusive to the bible.
Agape love is unlike all other forms of love. It is a love that is benevolently bestowed to the object of that love. It is a love that has nothing at all to do with “feelings” for the love object, but rather it is a love that is really in spite of the love object.
Let that sink in!
It is sacrificial love.
It is the “lover” bestowing goodwill, esteem, favor, and benevolence on the “lovee”.
It is all about the lover or the source of love and has nothing to do with the behavior, worthiness or character of the love object.
Agape love is a decision. It is a conscientious, eyes-wide-open-no-matter-what kind of love.
It is not human love. Not even a little bit!
Agape love is all about sacrifice! A good way to understand Agape love is to read the passages around the GOD IS LOVE verse. The very best example of Agape love is seen in verses 9 and 10.
BY THIS THE LOVE OF GOD WAS MANIFESTED IN US, THAT GOD SENT HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON INTO THE WORLD SO THAT WE MIGHT LIVE THROUGH HIM.
IN THIS IS LOVE, NOT THAT WE LOVED GOD, BUT HE LOVED US AND SENT HIS SON TO BE THE PROPITIATION FOR OUR SINS.
Let’s break these magnificent passages down…
God, the source of love manifested… showed forth so we could see, made love clear, brought it out in plain view and clearly showed us what real love was…
By the act of sending His only begotten Son… by sending Jesus who is God in the flesh to this world.
God sent Jesus because all humanity, all of us, every single one, was so lost and defiled and sinful and depraved and in darkness and so full of hate and fear. And we were so desperate and far gone we really did not think about our pitiful state! We did not know or care that we could never find our way back to God and dig ourselves out of the miserable pit the had made for themselves.
We were in a bad, bad way!
Even though we have all turned our backs on God and chose a path for ourselves that would lead to death and separation from God, God decided to send Jesus, whom He LOVED, to show us the way back to Him and give us new life.
But in loving us it cost God! Far beyond what we can think or comprehend! In loving us, God knew that He had signed Jesus’ death sentence.
He knew that Jesus would have to shed His perfectly holy blood to make propitiation for our sins because we could not do it for ourselves.
The word propitiation carries with it the idea of satisfying a debt. It means to make amends and pay a price that brings peace between two parties that are warring against each other.
Only when the debt is completely paid there can be peace.
THEREFORE, SINCE WE ARE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. Romans 5:1
Jesus was the price that brought us back to God. God in the flesh died and paid the price for bringing us back into a right relationship with God.
This is LOVE!
This is “agape”! This is God!
BUT GOD DEMONSTRATES HIS OWN LOVE TOWARDS US, IN THAT WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US. Romans 5:8
God’s love is sacrificial.
It costs Him.
He is the one who sacrifices for the well being and favor of the object of His love! And the object of His love is you and me!
AMAZING LOVE isn’t it?
Is it possible for humans to love that way? Yes, it is possible but only for those who believe that Jesus is who He says He is and has done what He says He has done.
It is possible for those who acknowledge that they are sinners and their own rebellion has caused them to be far away from God. It is possible for those who bow down before Jesus and declare Him their LORD, the Creator, and OWNER of their lives!
It is possible when God Himself dwells in us in the form of the Holy Spirit and begins the work of changing us, a work we could never do ourselves!
It is impossible to love, to truly love without the Holy Spirit of God himself!
BELOVED, IF GOD SO LOVED US, WE ALSO OUGHT TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER. 1 John 4:11
Can you imagine what Valentine’s Day would look like if we liberally spread Agape love to all we meet?
Now that would be a celebration of true LOVE!
A NEW COMMANDMENT I GIVE YOU: LOVE ONE ANOTHER. AS I HAVE LOVED YOU SO YOU MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER. John 13:34