The Law of Agape
by Fred R | May 31, 2020The Law of Agape
There are two main Greek words translated love in our Bibles. Phileo refers to natural love and agape refers to divine love.
The clearest comparison between phileo and agape is found in John 21:15-17. Both Greek words are used, and both are translated love in English. The first two times Jesus ask Peter if he loved Him, Jesus uses the Greek word agape. Peter responds with, “you know I phileo you.” This conversation is a result of Peter proclaiming he was willing to die for Him. Not only did Peter not die but he ended up denying Jesus three times. The third time Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, Jesus uses the Greek word phileo natural love. Peter was grieved at this third question because he knew that though he said he was willing to die for Jesus his love failed him. Jesus knew at the time of Peter’s proclamation, his love was not agape, yet He never corrected Peter but let life take its course for a much more valuable lesson. That is why Peter said, “Lord You know all things.” Peter learned through this trial, that his love was not enough to enable him to do what he said. He also learned that Jesus knew, his heart was not in a place to enable him to do what he said.
In John 15:13 Jesus said, “Greater agape has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” In John 14:31 Jesus said, “so that the world may know that I agape the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me.” It was agape that enabled Christ to die in our place. It was phileo that failed Peter’s proclamation to die for his Lord. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthian 13:7-8, “Agape bears up under all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Vs 8, Agape never fails.” Agape divine love did not fail Jesus in the greatest trail a human would ever face. The agape of His Father gave Jesus a strength that we as fallen man cannot relate to. Paul wrote in Romans 8:29 that there is, a people that God has predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son. The Greek word Paul uses for conformed means, to take on the exact inward likeness. The same strength Jesus experienced all His life, will enable us to live for God the same way. Paul describes the attributes of agape in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, as to what agape does and doesn’t do. Agape will enable the soul to live the same life Jesus lived, because agape comes from God, 1 John 4:7. Jesus prayed in John 17:23, “I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and agaped them, even as You have agaped Me.” The world is going to see a people that can live far beyond the natural ability of man. The world will also know that what they are seeing is not because of us but is because of what Jesus did to take away the sin of the world, John 1:29. In that day we will not take credit for what we’ve become.
In Jeremiah 31:33, “This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” It is written of Jesus in Ps 40:8, “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart." Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” What enabled Jesus to make this statement is because the laws of God where within His heart. The answer to how the laws of God were in His heart can be summed up in one word, agape. This is how God is going to put His laws into our hearts as well. Paul wrote in Rom 13:8-10, “Owe no one anything except to agape one another, for he who agapes another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not covet, and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, You shall agape your neighbor as yourself.
10 Agape does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, agape is the fulfillment of the law.” Agape will enable us to live a life fulfilling the laws of God.
So how is God going to put His agape in our hearts? John wrote in John 3:27, “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” James wrote in James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Paul wrote in Galatians 5:22, “The fruit of the Spirit is agape….” Paul also wrote that, “…the agape of God is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 8:39. The key to how we get the agape of God is found in John 15:9, I believe this is the pivotal verse in the New Testament. Jesus said, “As the Father has agaped Me so have I agaped you, abide in My agape. The Greek word for abide is meno, which means, “remaining or dwelling in a place.” This is the path to living a life fulfilling the law. Jesus said in verse 12 of this chapter, “This is My commandment, that you agape one another, as I have agape you.” This is the result of our remaining in the agape of Christ. We will work no ill to our neighbor and live fulfilling the law of God.