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What Is Agape Love, Anyway? Jul 12 2010


"May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance." - 2 Thessalonians 3:5

You have probably heard the term "agape love," but may not be real clear on what it means. What is agape love? How is it any different from the dozens of other ways we use the word love? First, let's understand what it is not. It is not romantic love, because people of all faiths (and no faiths) experience romantic love. Secondly, it is not brotherly love, where you have a natural chemistry with another person. Terrorists and members of the mafia experience brotherly love. There's certainly nothing uniquely Christian about that!

Agape love is unconditional love. It is a choice we make to love another person whether they love us back or not. It means that you choose to love someone even if he is your enemy! Agape love is not based on emotion at all. In fact, it may be contrary to our every emotion. It is an act of the will.

Agape love presents a real challenge for us Christians. It is tough to live out because it's hard to love someone who doesn't respond to you in the way you would desire. And all of us are going to have certain individuals—even within the body of Christ—that we have to struggle to love. And yet, God's word is very clear: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God. Now, you couldn't find a more clear command about what we're called to do as followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus "agape loves" us and commands us to "agape love" others.

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I asked Jesus how much He loves me then He spread His arms and died for me. Unknown

 
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If Jesus "agape loves" us, which is unconditional love, then how come the threats of Hell from him if you don't follow, and believe this stuff? I've heard on this site lots of threats of Hell if I don't believe, which sounds like one MASSIVE condition to me.

Hence, Jesus does not provide unconditional love. QED.

 
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JCO....
How much more unconditional could we ask His love to be? Dying a horrible physical death so that all people can be saved is the ultimate unconditional love!
Only those who reject that love will condemn themselves to hell.
We have the choice. Jesus does not make that choice for us.

God IS Love.....I'm sure He is grieved every time a lost person dies with their final outcome sealed because of their own choice to reject the love He offered them.


 
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"Only those who reject that love will condemn themselves to hell."

LOL. But THIS DEVOTION is all about unconditional love of Jesus, and what you state IS a condition. Don't you get it? Moreover, as this devotion states:

Agape love is unconditional love. It is a choice we make to love another person whether they love us back or not.

Which is the exact opposite of what you are saying, contraditing this devotion. See if you can follow me:

1. Jesus "agape loves" us.

Agree? Ok, I think you do. Next...

2. Agape love is unconditional love. It is a choice we make to love another peron whether they love us back or not.

This is just copying straight from the devotion. Thus Jesus, by definition, loves us whether they love us back or not.

3. Given that Jesus loves us, he'd never send someone he loves to Hell.

Would you torture someone you love? I think not. And not just for a little while, but for all eternity!

The "threats" of Christianity are laughable, illogical, and absurd. Anyone with logic skills past a 3rd grader should be able to see through this silliness.

 
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There were three Greek words for love in the Bible. Eros, which is romantic or sexual love. Phileo, which is brotherly love. And, Agape, which is "giving love". It expects no reward and it is unconditional. I disagree that it is without emotion though.

Jesus asked Peter "do you love me?" three times. The first time he asked "do you agape me?". Peter replied, "yes Lord, I phileo you". Jesus asked again, (but) "do you agape me?". Again, Peter replied, "yes Lord, you know that I phileo you". The third time Jesus lowered the bar and asked, "do you phileo me".

When Jesus repeated the command to love God with all your heart strengh and mind, he also used the word agape. Agape love is the highest and purest form of love.

JCO- You are confusing love with justice. You can love someone unconditionally and still be bound by justice. The expression of God's love (which is perfect) in your case is called Mercy. It's available to you and everyone who places their life and faith in the hands of Jesus Christ. God's provision for our salvation is easy to understand. You simply don't want to accept the underlying conditions. (YET, I pray)

 
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JCO-
You don't torture someone you love for the sheer fun of it. Regardless of wether I love someone or not, there is right and wrong.
Wrong/bad/immoral whatever label you want to give it will be punished.

We can all turn a blind eye and see only the things we want to see, but I pray that you will see God for what he is, not what you want him not to be.

 
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Agape is a Greek word. Jesus spoke Aramaic. If you want to understand Jesus you will have to discuss Aramaic words for love.

 
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Thanks Erik, I looked it up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_words_for_love

Assuming this is accurate, seems to simply mean "I love you", or maybe even connotes "true love". It is the kind of love you feel for your children or spouse.

Thus this word doesn't seem to imply "unconditional love" as this devotion suggests. Anyhow, as we've discussed, Jesus's love is NOT unconditional, but rather comes with one massive condition attached.

 
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JCO and Erik do you believe in love, yes or no?

 
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What do you mean, Christ Follower?

 
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Guys, if you don't believe Jesus ever existed then what is the point of which language we study his words in?? God chose to inspire the writers of the New Testament in Greek. That is the language of God for whatever reason He had. Most of us are not readers of Greek and must rely on various translations and the use of a concordance. You continually strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. That's enough of you for me for today. Shalom.

 
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Erik, it may seem like a strange question, but I just want to know if you believe in love.

 
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The question is too vague. Do I love Zaxby's? Yes. Do I love my children? Yes.

 
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No, it was a straight forward question, but in your own way you answered it as yes. In other words you believe love exists, right? Yet there is no real scientific proof that it exists. Love cannot be seen. Yes, the result of what we consider love may be seen, but not love itself. Just because you cannot prove to me that love exists does not mean that it doesn't. It's the same with God. I believe deep down everyone knows of His existence, but for one reason or another some would rather try to be in denial that He does. Even Helen Keller who was born both deaf and blind said that before she knew how to communicate with others, that she had always known of His existence, but just ddn't know what He was called. I don't plan on arguing with you back and forth on this, but I just would hope that it would give you a little bit to ponder. Erik, I don't know what kind of experience that you had in the past that made you think that you had accepted Christ, but I'm afraid that it's just not true that you ever really did. When someone truly makes that Commitment it's as the Bible says that we are a new creature and all things become as new. A good example is of a caterpillar that comes out of his cocoon as a new creature, a butterfly. He has to be one or the other. He is either still a caterpillar or a butterfly. For some reason you never truly made the transition by becoming a new person in Him. Again, I see no point in vain disputes with you over this. Just know that we are still praying for you because I feel sure as much as you are fighting it, that God is still trying to work in your life. Take care God bless

 
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Erik, JCO, you guys are an embarrassment to Atheism. Your arguments sound like things my toddler would say.

You also have way to much time on your hands. Seriously, what has gone so wrong in your life that you've dedicated so much time and effort into arguing with nitwits like us? We clearly can't think, don't understand anything as well as you do, are completely ignorant of science, will believe anything we are told, and don't even understand our own faith as well as you two. So why are you wasting your time? I don't try and explain the time value of money to my dog. Don't you have some better things to do with your superior intellect?

What objections do you have to this devotion, other than the fact that you aren't Christians? Do you find the message immoral? Is it wrong to preach love? How about advising people love even when they don't want to love?

Are you that religiously bigoted?

 
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CF- you can't see gravity either but it can be proved to exist through experiments. "Love" is a term we use to mean many different subjective emotional states and feelings. So of course I know that the feelings called "love" exist just as I know "hate" and other subjective psychological states exist. The corresponding areas in the brain can even be imaged by sophisticated MRI machines.

God is much different anyway. You are not claiming, as the deists do, that some kind of "God" exists- some odorless, tasteless, up in the sky God- rather you are claiming that a certain God exists- the God of the Bible- and that he has done certain things in the past, and continues to act in our lives. That is of course false. If you want to claim that your God doesn't really do anything, then I could not prove or disprove he exists one way or the other.

As far as what I did to become a Christian: I knelt down and asked God for forgiveness for having wronged him and for being a sinner. I asked Christ to come into my heart. I asked Jesus to be my savior and Lord of my life. I thanked him for what he had done on the cross to save me. Then I proclaimed him in front witnesses, was baptized, and began studying His word daily. I also witnessed to friends, family and people on the street. I fasted on many weekends, drinking only water and studying Scripture that I might know Him better. I pondered what spiritual gift I had been given. I worried and prayed over lost souls.
Then I gradually figured out it was all nonsense. It is self-hypnosis, wishful thinking and play acting.

Austin: thank you for the ad hominem attacks. I have never said that anyone here had lesser intellect. If I believed that I wouldn't waste my time.
I do think it is important to speak out when I hear people say things about God that aren't true.

 
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Erik, everything you "did" was fine. The thing is we can't earn our way into heaven for one thing and for another Christ explained in Matt. 13: 18-23 exactly what - (you've described.) As He often did He spoke in a parable so not everyone quite understands or "takes to heart" it's meaning. Paraphrased, of course, He basically says that many will hear the message, but not quite understand it and that satan will snatch it from their heart. He likens it to seed that is sown and if it falls on rocky soil that initially it is received with joy(as you yourself described). He also goes on to say that without being able to properly root the seed will only last a short time(as you yourself described). That as trouble, persecution, etc ( whatever truly happened to you) comes that they will quickly fall away (as you yourself described) He goes on to describe the seed (person) that is choked by things of life and becomes unfruitful. This example I do not feel pertains so much to you though. Then there is the seed (person) that falls on good soil or hears the word and totally understands and produces a crop yielding much which (by your own description) of falling away from the faith obviously does not describe you. So, Jesus Himself clearly painted a Vivid Example of those that hear the word, do good works, but (as you yourself described) do not keep the word in their heart. There is no one else to blame for this dear Erik to have let the evil one (as Christ described) to have been able to snatch the word from- "your heart." Again still praying that the next time the seed will land on fertile ground. I have to move on now. God bless

 
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CF- I've tried to answer your questions as best I can. The only argument you and others here seem to make is to question my personality, my motivation, my life experiences etc. While I do enjoy talking about myself, given how fantastic I am, I think it's much more important for us to discuss whether or not this Jesus-God-Bible stuff is for real or not.

So back to my original question: how can there be any meaningful discussion of 'agape' love when it is a Greek concept and a Greek word, which Jesus and his disciples never used?

 
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Okay, seriously I have to move on after this, but anyway it is the historical consensus that Greek was the international language of that day. Since Jesus's father was a carpenter I'm sure he was familiar with it as well. Although Rome had militarily conquered Greece, the language was still used pretty universally. So I'm sure Christ knew all three languages and being who He was would have no problem with speaking it or any other for that matter. Have other fish to fry now. God bless

 
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That's simply not true Christ Follower. Although Greek was the language of an educated minority, it was certainly NOT the language Christ spoke on a daily basis, and it COULD not have been the language he spoke to the disciples, who were uneducated Galilean fishermen. Many scholars believe Matthew was written in Aramaic and later translated to Greek. This is on the testimony of Eusebius, the first historian of the Church. Also there are verbal constructs and puns that could only have had meaning had the original language been Aramaic. Maybe next time you see him one of you can ask Pastor Wright what language Jesus spoke.

 
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It doesn't matter what language was used or is used or will be used I still believe the scriptures when it said in John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Christ did this and to me that is the ultimate showing of love. Argue all you want, but if you don't accept it then that is your choice, I do believe it and that is my choice. If you don't believe in hell then go for all the gusto that you can. Roll the dice or however you choose to word it, I won't threaten you, you make your own choice. I will not know anything about what happens to you, and at that time I won't care, I will be in heaven and that is what I am looking forward too. I know it sound harsh but when people ask me not to bother them I will honour their wish. Everybody else, "Rejoice" Jesus loves you more than you can ever understand.

 
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CF, you love to say "Okay, seriously I have to move on after this" after you've been painted into a corner with logic. ;)

It's difficult to reason your way out of illogical constructs hey?

Bottom line is, JC doesn't offer unconditional love, but it comes with a big condition attached to it, as I have discussed.

What is so special about 'believing' anyhow? Why is that God's criteria for punishment over anything else? So a murderous Jesus-accepting believer asking for forgiveness gets into Heaven, and yet a good-hearted loving altruistic atheist does not? This makes zero sense to me, and I can see no valid reason as to why a deity would attach so much importance to belief, unless it's only for his own glorification, protection, and self-interests.

 
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JCO, God is all holy. We are sinful. We are separated from Him because of our sinfulness. Our sinfulness, unforgiven and not repented of, not covered by the blood Jesus shed upon the cross means that we end up for eternity in the fires that rage in hell for we have chosen to not go with God into the heaven He has prepared for those who love Him and know Him as Lord of their lives. He lovingly has provided a way out of the flames waiting for each of us but He gives us the choice. He gives us opportunity after opportunity to choose to go with Him. You can choose to view Him as unloving and without kindness for giving us freewill. I choose to see that He would have been unloving and without kindness if He had left us without a way out of an eternity in hell. Now I ask, how would Satan want you to view God? You will claim Satan is not real. But he is real and he wants to claim you as his own. What better way for you to fall under his control than to make you think God does not love you? Satan wants the glory due God and he will steal it every chance he gets. Satan is always happy to glory in the souls he has under his control, those souls who will not go with the Lord God. I know the spiritual realm seems so unreal to you. But it does exist. I will continue to pray for the wall to be broken down that has been placed around you to keep you from knowing the truth about God. He does love you and wants to claim your soul for eternal life in heaven with Him. You have to open your heart to Him, surrender your feelings of being all-knowing and accept that Jesus died on the cross for your sins. Escape the walls that imprison you and realize the freedom that is found in Jesus Christ alone.

 
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JCO...

Parents' love for their children is unconditional like God's love for us. On the other hand, "righteous" parents sometimes give things to their children based on the fullfillment of certain conditions. However, if the parents don't give their children certain things because they have not satisfied the conditions set by the parents, it simply does not mean the parents don't love their children unconditionally. For example, if the parents offer their children something good but they simply refuse the gift, then whose fault is it? Well, salvation works the same way....

 
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Erik,
Now that I know you have children I am adding them to my prayer list and that God will bring a strong Christian into their lives to tell them the truth. As you continue in your search I would ask you to open up your heart to hearing the truth instead of being so focused on semantics that you lose the big picture. Koine Greek was a common language spoken in the time of Jesus-- It was the people's language and I am sure the disciples knew the language as well. You don't have to have a PhD to be proficient at languages. I will reiterate my stance as because you and JCO don't believe God, Jesus, and the Word of God are real doesn't mean they are not real. Agape love is a fruit of the Spirit that is manifested in the life of a believer as they behold the truth of God's Word and are transformed from glory to glory. The fact that God allows anyone to enter heaven is the miracle. We all deserve to go to hell because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We would have to be totally without sin to enter heaven. Only God coming to the earth in humanity could die for our sins. But again the truth of God's Word is foolishness to the natural man. I remember that well. Praise God that He saved me and I will be spending eternity with Him. And I believe you two will be there as well.

 
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JCO, your comment about my having to move on because of my being painted into a corner gave me a good laugh, thanks. Of course it didn't have anything to do with the fact that at the time I was typing I had a alarm company employee working on our system, or the fact that after that I had to leave the house and run several errands including getting groceries and then ate out with my husband, or the fact that after we got back we needed to flea dip 3 cats, or that some people just have a "life" and what leisure time they do have would rather relax and watch tv or in my case watch cute cat videos on youtube, ha ha. I also usually try take time to pray for each prayer request on this site whether written out or silently. That is when the website lets me, unlike last night. Anyway, in other words some people like myself just don't particularly want to spend what extra time they do have arguing with atheist or agnostics on a devotion site that was never intended to be a debate for forum to begin with. Anyway briefly because I just have other things I'd rather do with the rest of my night, I will only add that as far as the Greek language argument is concerned that to me it is not "logical"to think that Greek was not used in Nazareth by some because it would not be "logical" to think that since the city of Sepphoris (excavated in 1931) which was a Major city in Galilee and great trade center where Greek was used in their everyday language in their marketplace, and was a short distance from Nazareth would be no influence on the city of Nazareth whatsoever. It's just not logical to me. Anyway, I'm simply not going to argue the point anymore, it's ridiculous. I know "as usual" that you and Erik will have to have the last word on it, so have fun. On your other point Janice answered quite nicely and besides that JCO, you need to remind yourself who is rejecting Who. Anyway, knock yourself out because it's time for me to go on to other things and other devotions. Goodnight and God bless

 
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JCO.......God, through Jesus (Unconditionally) loved us FIRST. How is it His fault if we reject that love?
Yes, the devotional is about the love for others, but JCO brought up the argument that Jesus' love was not unconditional.
His love IS conditional, but for us to live with Him in eternity, there is a condition..faith in and acceptance of Him. These are two separate issues.

 
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I meant to say "his love IS unconditional"

 
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I love my son unconditionally, that's of course unless he doesn't believe that I can turn my breakfast cereal into Elvis Presley. Then I don't love him anymore. But it's definitely unconditional.

 
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Ever heard the term, "Beat a dead horse?" Well, we've beat this devotion to death and, sadly, some of the comments have gone 180 degrees from the original intent. Regardless of what name you use to describe unconditional love, that's the kind of love that Jesus preached. Nuff said. Comments are now shut down on this devotion.

 

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