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The Way of Agape, the Truth of Agape and the Life of Agape

Posted Dec 04, 2012 by Adrian Ebens in Everlasting Gospel
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The apostle John gives us the sublime definition of our Heavenly Father in these verses:

1Jn 4:7-8  Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  (8)  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

The word for this love of course is Agape. This word Agape speaks of a purely benevolent love. This is a love that gives without the receiver needing to do anything to secure it. John clearly illustrates this love in the following verses:

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, …

1Jn 4:9  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

1Jn 4:10  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

It is the giving of His Son to us who have nothing of worth to attract such a gift that reveals the Agape of God.  

As we behold the purity of this gift, this giving of a Son for us, this giving of a Son to die a most shameful and painful death for us  that reveals to a sinful world the amazing, breathtaking, precious and pure Agape of God.

When men behold this love in its powerful simplicity, they either are melted by it or become highly resistive to it. It is not a love that allows a passive response, it provokes, cries out, appeals and even demands a response.

The enemy of our souls knows that if men and women are enabled to behold the purity of this love, it will turn the world upside down. (Acts 17:6) In order to dilute the power of this love, Satan provides a backdrop to the story of the cross that allows him to preach many aspects of the gospel and yet still hide the purity of Agape from them and therefore dilute and corrupt the truth that God loves us purely because of who He is and not who we are that would in any way attract Him.

The sweet Agape that God has for man must be placed upon an understanding of the love that God has for His Son. Any love that God would manifest is built upon the cornerstone love that exists between God and His Son. So what is the love that God has for His Son?

John 3:35  The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.   

The Bible tells us that the love He has for His Son is Agape. This Agape is revealed in the truth that God gave all things (an act of giving) into His hand.

This brings us to the question of equality. The Son does not think it robbery to be equal with God but where does the confidence of the Son rest? What is the son thinking that is not robbery? Does He think that His co-equal and co-eternal power, knowledge and might makes Him equal? Does the Father delight in the Son BECAUSE He possesses what He Himself possesses? If the equality of the Son to the Father is based in His inherent characteristics then the love of the Father in part is a love that recognises the noble, powerful and beautiful. If we accept this notion as fact and we see that the love of the Father has elements of the appreciation of that which is good in itself, then that God is a combination of benevolent Agape love and platonic Eros love.  This is exactly the teaching and god of Rome:

God is the absolute and ultimate source of all being; but this universal principle of creation—the Logos, primordial reason—is at the same time a lover with all the passion of a true love. Eros is thus supremely ennobled, yet at the same time it is so purified as to become one with agape. Pope Benedict IX Encyclical Letter, 2005, Deus Caritas Est “God is Love.”

Any doctrine of the Trinity that places the equality of Father and Son upon their inherent power (omnipotence), knowledge (omniscience) and nobility (Eternal Age) must by definition entertain the notion that the love of God is Eros plus Agape. The first response is “You are saying they are not equal then! You are saying that Jesus is not fully Divine!” There is no question that all the fullness of Divinity dwells in Christ and He possesses all things, but if these things make Him equal then by definition, God reveals that only those who possess these things can be of real value to Him and that is the clearest definition of Eros you will ever find.

In contrast to this false notion the Bible tells us that it is the Agape of the Father that has Made the Son equal with Him. As the Father has given Him all things and has pronounced to the universe that He has made Him equal, it is this and this alone that makes Him equal. And in that transaction we find the cornerstone of the Agape of God. The giving of all the Father Has to His only begotten Son and making Him equal with Himself, we see the brightest and clearest definition of Agape. The Son of God by definition is the supreme evidence of the Agape of the Father! And in beholding this Agape Son, we are transformed into that same image. Has not the Father told us the love He has for His Son?

Matt 3:17  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved (Agape) Son, in whom I am well pleased.

The only possible way to guarantee that God is truly Agape is to know that God loves His Son because He gave Him everything and not because the Son already possesses everything to which the Father is attracted. If there is even the slightest idea in our minds that God loves His Son because of His inherent or ontological qualities, then the purity of Agape is corrupted.

Therefore when we behold the Agape of God in giving His Son to die for us and we allow this truth to be set on the firm foundation that the Son of God is the clearest manifestation of Agape then the true revelation and purity of God’s Agape is revealed and Eros is totally defeated. In contrast if we allow the notion of the Trinity to find a place in our soul then we must by the logic of such a co-equality be led to the foot of a god whose pure Agape love is not ennobled but rather diluted and corrupted by Eros.

So how are we filled with the Agape of God?

1Jn 3:1,2  Behold, what manner of love (Agape) the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

The Son of God is the purest manifestation of the love of the Father. By beholding this Son, by eating His flesh, by drinking His blood, by meditating upon Him as the Way of Agape, the Truth of Agape and the Life of Agape then we will be transformed into His image; the image of Agape.

Our God is Agape and in Him is no Eros at all.