Every man, if he were honest, would admit that he has made mistakes in life. And the Apostle Paul writes in his Epistle to the Romans in chapter 3:23 that: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and in chapter 6:23 he adds “For the wages of sin is death.” God’s love was manifested while we were still sinners, in that He sent His Son to die on the cross for the sins of all mankind.
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2 NASB)
This sacrifice is valid only for those who believe in the Lord Jesus, in who He is, and in what He has done:
The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:18 NASB)
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while “we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NASB).
In the ancient Greek language, in which the New Testament was written, four words were used for love, four Greek terms for the 4 types of love:
- STORGE – a natural love, the affection you have for someone or something you love (relatives, friends)
- EROS – erotic, sensual, selfish love, which seeks only personal fulfillment and when it no longer receives what it wants, it goes out and ignites for another person who could satisfy it.
- FILEO – the love that appears between friends, a love that responds to the kindness or love of the other, when one is attracted by the beauty of the other’s character. When there is no more reciprocity, this love is extinguished, but with pain.
- AGAPE – it is an unconditional love that doesn’t depend on the behavior of the other. It is an act of will on the part of the one who loves. This form of love desires only the good of the other and sacrifices itself by giving itself. This is not an irresponsible love that fulfills the other’s desires, but an intelligent love, which is based on knowing the other’s needs; it is not a blind love.
In the New Testament the Greek word EROS is never used, instead the word AGAPE is used 320 times. And in the text of 1 John 4:16, where we find the statement “God is love,” we also have the word “agape” – an unconditional love that meets the needs of the one he loves.
God’s love is not limited to giving His Son to die on the cross for our sins. After the Lord Jesus ascended to heaven, He poured out His Spirit upon those who believed, that they might live pleasingly before Him:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor those habitually drunk, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NASB)
In 2 Corinthians 3:18 Paul writes of those who return to the Lord Jesus:
But we all, with unveiled faces, looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
May the Lord help us to remain in God’s love and to love our neighbor with the love with which He loved us.
Translated by Olya Trikolich