The Double Love of God

Is The Agape Love Of God Enough For Salvation?

The Double Love of God
Image Source - Image owned,‭ ‬uploaded and copyrighted‭ ‬2018‭ ‬by the author,‭ ‬Peter P.‭ ‬Macinta‭ (‬BrotherPete‭)
We hear much about the love of God.‭ ‬We hear so much about it that,‭ ‬unless a preacher or teacher outright says it,‭ ‬one could very well think that almost everyone gets to heaven because,‭ ‬after all,‭ ‬God loves them.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬quite often something is missing from the teachings and sermons we hear.

Ask most people and they will tell you that God loves them.‭ ‬While this is true‭ {‬1‭} ‬from the standpoint of God’s timelessness and constancy‭ (‬1‭ ‬John‭ ‬4:16,‭ ‬2:2‭)‬,‭ ‬thanks to the narrowness of our modern languages,‭ ‬coupled with the lack of the study of the Holy Bible,‭ ‬an important facet of the grace of God is missed.‭ ‬The English word‭ “‬love‭” ‬covers a broad range of affections and is really overused.‭ ‬I caught myself the other day saying something like‭ “‬I love chocolate.‭” ‬I suspect this term muddling occurs in other languages and,‭ ‬sadly,‭ ‬occurs in our Holy Bible translations.

However,‭ ‬the ancient Greeks had at least four words for love,‭ ‬but only two of those,‭ ‬agapao‭ (‬ag-ap-ah‭’‬-o‭) ‬and phileo‭ (‬fil-eh‭’‬-o‭) {‬2‭}‬,‭ ‬are found in the New Testament manuscripts.‭ ‬Depending upon the context,‭ ‬either of these can be translated as‭ “‬love‭”‬.

In giving a concise definition of agape‭ (‬the noun‭)‬,‭ ‬I often say it is selfless,‭ ‬stems from an act of the will and not of emotion‭ (‬though it may be expressed by emotion‭)‬,‭ ‬and is gracious even though the recipient of such love might not be deserving of it‭ (‬yet,‭ ‬agape might esteem it as such‭)‬.‭ ‬While,‭ ‬naturally,‭ ‬phileo would have to involve our will,‭ ‬it often involves mutual affection.‭ ‬While it could rise to the mentioned aspects of agape,‭ ‬there is no requirement for it to do so.

Most people know the Holy Bible says God loved the world‭ (‬John‭ ‬3:16‭)‬:‭ “‬For God so loved the world,‭ ‬that he gave his only begotten Son,‭ ‬that whosoever believes in him should not perish,‭ ‬but have everlasting life‭” (‬AV‭)‬.‭ ‬That is probably a verse known by most people.‭ ‬The problem is that they do not read its context nor the rest of the New Testament.

A keyword in that verse is‭ “‬believes,‭” ‬and the New Testament is full of examples this is simply not a belief in one’s mind.‭ ‬Basically it is our will to do His will‭ (‬John‭ ‬7:17‭)‬:‭ “‬If anyone is willing to do His will,‭ ‬he will know of the teaching,‭ ‬whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.‭” ‬Also consider Philippians‭ ‬2:12-13,‭ “‬So then,‭ ‬my beloved,‭ ‬just as you have always obeyed,‭ ‬not as in my presence only,‭ ‬but now much more in my absence,‭ ‬work out your salvation with fear and trembling‭; ‬for it is God who is at work in you,‭ ‬both to will and to work for His good pleasure.‭” ‬And that is an aspect of grace too few hear about:‭ ‬God graciously giving us the ability to do His will.

If we run a check through a computer program about God’s phileo love we will see that His phileo love is available only to those who have surrendered to Him.‭ ‬It’s presented to all men‭ (‬Titus‭ ‬3:4‭)‬,‭ ‬but the Scriptures indicate we have to become His true disciple in order to experience His phileo love.‭ ‬If we truly experience His phileo love we will love Him back in the same way,‭ ‬otherwise we are not His disciple,‭ ‬and therefore we are not saved.

Proof of this is found in‭ ‬1‭ ‬Corinthians‭ ‬16:22‭ ‬where pheleo‭ (‬not agapao‭) ‬is used for the word‭ “‬love‭”‬:‭ “ ‬If anyone does not love the Lord,‭ ‬he is to be accursed.‭" ‬Phileo is used in Matthew‭ ‬10:37‭ ‬where Jesus Christ makes it clear we must love Him more than anyone else:‭ “‬He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me‭; ‬and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.‭”

Not only are we to have phileo love toward God we are to develop apapao love toward Him.‭ ‬I say‭ “‬develop‭” ‬based on my experience which I think is not unlike what most other disciples have experienced.‭ ‬Most times personal selflessness is not present in the heart of a sinner that turns to Christ.‭ ‬We turn to Christ out of a need that God has revealed to us.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬as we grow in Him we love Him for just for Who He is.‭ ‬We learn to agapao Him more and more.

In regard to agape love,‭ ‬Christ commands us to agapao God with our entire being‭ (‬Mark‭ ‬12:30‭)‬,‭ “‬you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,‭ ‬and with all your soul,‭ ‬and with all your mind,‭ ‬and with all your strength.‭” ‬We must choose to remain in His agapao love‭ (‬Jude‭ ‬21‭)‬,‭ “‬keep yourselves in the love of God,‭ ‬waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.‭”

Both agape and phileo were necessary in Peter's restoration after denying Christ.‭ ‬This is seen if we look at the actual wording of John‭ ‬21:15-17‭ ‬in regard to the usage of the word‭ “‬love‭”‬.‭ ‬Many think that Peter wept simply because Christ asked him three times if he loved Him.‭ ‬What actually occurred is that at the first and second time Christ asked Peter if he loved Him with agape love.‭ ‬Peter could only say‭ “‬phileo‭” {3}‬.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬on the third time Jesus did not ask if Peter loved Him with agape love,‭ ‬but asked if he loved Him with phileo love,‭ ‬using the same word Peter used.‭ ‬This is why Peter wept.

We should also weep because of what Christ did for us.‭ ‬In order for us to be saved He willingly became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God‭ (‬2‭ ‬Corinthians‭ ‬5:21‭)‬.‭ ‬By truly appreciating His gracious sacrifice for us and surrendering our lives to God through Christ we can enter into the double love of God.‭ ‬Because it is of God,‭ ‬it is pure and holy.‭ ‬And,‭ ‬this double love will flow both ways:‭ ‬from God to us,‭ ‬and from us to God by His grace.

Notes:‭ 

{1‭} ‬Some have said that God at one time and in one Way God did love the world‭ (‬John‭ ‬3:16‭) ‬but currently does not love the world.‭ ‬They partly base this on the fact that‭ “‬loved‭" ‬in‭ “‬for God so loved the world‭" ‬is in the aorist in John‭ ‬3:16.‭ ‬Regarding the aorist,‭ ‬James Strong states,‭ “‬The aorist tense is characterized by its emphasis on punctiliar action‭; ‬that is,‭ ‬the concept of the verb is considered without regard for past,‭ ‬present,‭ ‬or future time.‭” ‬Note that there might be no reference to time in usage of the aorist.‭ ‬With that,‭ ‬remember that God is timeless.‭ ‬So it could be said that God does currently‭ (‬to us,‭ ‬as creatures in time‭) ‬love the world.‭ ‬Though we have a beginning but no ending,‭ ‬God is just‭ “‬is‭”‬,‭ ‬He is eternal.

‭{‬2‭} ‬Generally,‭ ‬these are the verbs that may be translated‭ “‬love‭”‬.‭ ‬Most teachers refer to the latter in its form as a noun,‭ “‬agape‭”‬.

{3} Jesus Christ and Peter most likely spoke with each other in Aramaic. However, currently the oldest copies of the Gospel of John that we have are in Greek.

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible‭ (‬NASB‭) ‬changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates and adding‭ “(‬The Existing One‭)” ‬to readily express the meaning of His Name without making repeated explanations in articles.‭ * = ‬For other versions the spelling of some words is updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates.‭ ‬Usage of the NASB does not mean I condone the entire work of the NASB.‭ ‬I use the NASB in articles partly because its Copyright directives are less cumbersome than those of the New King James.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them.‭ ‬The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article,‭ ‬but for everything I have placed on the Internet.

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I have heard it before that love is the most overused word in the English language. When one thinks about it it is really true. Many say it without meaning and Many still use it to control and abuse. Let us learn from the greatest lover of all, God himself, to love selflessly and wholesomely and holistically.

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