Friday, May 25, 2007

Abiding In His Love

In English we have one word for the concept of “love.”

However, in the Greek language (the original language that the New Testament of the Bible was written in), there are a number of words used for “love.” Each one of these words has a more specific meaning and understanding. Three of the more common Greek words are eros, philos and agape.


Eros is related to the English word “erotic.” This is sexual love. This is perhaps the most popular use of the word “love” in today’s society.


Philos is related to the English word “Philadelphia” (the City of Brotherly Love). This denotes affection, a strong personal attraction and attachment, such in a kindred ship. It also may signify “liking.” This is another popular use of the word “love.”


This is the highest form of love. It is God’s love and denotes a love primarily of the will rather than the emotions; such is divine love: a Godly love: a love that is from the will (John 3:16) and nature of God (1st John 4:8, 16). Agape indicates a love that “looks beyond one’s faults and sees his needs.”

Agape is unconditional love. You don’t have to feel an attraction for a person to have agape for them. You don’t have to even like that person to have agape for them. They can be despicable… horrible… your worst enemy that caused you great loss and harm. Still, you can have agape for them. Why? Because while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, the ungodly.

Agape love, without a doubt, is the most misunderstood in today’s society. It is probably best understood as seeking and desiring to do all in the best interest of others, or, in the case of our Lord’s disciples, esteeming God and others best interest even above their own; it is a self-giving sacrificial type love.


  1. Love is compassionate

    “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1st Corinthians. 13:4-7 NASU).”
  2. Love also has mercy and grace

    4But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (Ephesians. 2:4-5 NAS).

Without this kind of love there would be nothing desirable in life.

In the Scripture, when God commands His people to love, in the Greek, only the word agape is used.

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My
love.” (John 15:9 NASU)

[abide in My love]

When Jesus commanded His disciples to abide in His love– what did He mean?

Degenerate man is vile, base, mean and evil; there is nothing in him that would cause our Lord to love and desire to have fellowship with him. But He looks beyond those faults and sees a loving relationship with the regenerate man and wills to love him (Rom. 5:8) and save his soul from everlasting destruction.

Remain steadfast in my love; for apart from my love you cannot love as I have loved. Man, in and of himself, is not able to love his fellowman as Christ has loved man. It is only when man summits his will to Christ that he is adequately equipped to love with the proper love. Thus it is not of his own will that he loves, neither by his own love, but by the will and love of Christ. Thus he is abiding in perfect harmony with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My
Father's commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:10 NASU)

[If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love;]

Again, it is by submission to the will of Christ, obedience to His commandment, that we remain steadfast in His love.

[just as I have kept My Father’s Commandments and abide in His love.]

Our Lord was submissive to the will of the Father even to a sacrificial death on the cross, thus He remained steadfast in the love of the Father.

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that
your joy may be made full (John 15:11 NASU).”

[so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full]

There is no joy in struggling from within one’s self to love the unlovable; it usually ends in heartbreak. It is only when we can see man through the love of Christ that his needs become greater than our sufferings and the cause of Christ greater than our on.

Therefore “------let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Heb. 12:1ff-3 NASU)

James C Sanford

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