God is love. Loving is at the very core of His being. It is His very nature, not just an aspect of His character. He is the Lover of mankind; He can do nothing else but love us. Divine love is the true essence of God. He is the communion of the Father eternally loving His Son in that interchange of the Holy Spirit. For us of the Christian tradition, we hold that God is Trinitarian and that Trinitarian flow implies that the Father is the Lover, the Son is the Beloved and the Holy Spirit, the Bond of Love between the two.
The Father sent the only begotten Son, who is of the same essence as Him, to take on our humanity in the event of the incarnation and make visible – beyond the shadow of a doubt – the Agape love that God has towards us. This love is unconditional, unfailing, and immutable. Agape Love has the efficacious ability to change us.
God is love! This is the Gospel as transmitted by the Apostles. Theologically, there is a distinction between professing the creed and walking the path, and we need both. The Faith is beyond believing; it does not end with its profession but implies walking the path. If you truly acknowledge the Love that God has for you, it will be reflected in how you relate with others. Within God’s Being is the community of Love. Man was designed to be loved by God, to bear the image of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We bear His image, and our vocation is to be transformed into the likeness of God whom we behold.
Adam attempted to be independent by becoming his own concept of God apart from God. This is a concept known as apotheosis. It is man employing his own technology to build for himself what He perceives God to be. It is the path leading to death. Death was introduced into the world when man turned his face from the embrace of God’s Love and began to give into the antithesis of love, which is fear.
“I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” – Genesis 3:10
This is the first instance of fear mentioned in the bible. Fear is the first fruit of Adam’s fall. When Adam turned away from Love, from that rest of being assured and secured in what God knew about him, he entered a mode of living of attempting to make something of himself. This is the condition human beings are in, and which ails us because there is no other gaze of acceptance that can satisfy the longing of the human heart than finding ourselves loved and embraced in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As a result of man not looking upon the truth of his being, he has ignored his genesis face, which is his true face, the face he had before he was born.
Human religions are the result of Man trying to find his origins and attempting to locate himself in this world. However, there is something in us that draws us to that which is transcendent but at the same time we seem to be frail and we all fail. We all have things that we know are contradictions to who we are at the core of our being. The human condition is ailed by many disorders; it suffers many diseases and dis-eases. When we speak about Agape being therapeutic, it refers to that which treats disease, and deals with disorder.
7 Beloved, let us [unselfishly] [a]love and seek the best for one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves [others] is born of God and knows God [through personal experience]. 8 The one who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.] 9 By this the love of God was displayed in us, in that God has sent His [One and] only begotten Son [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind] into the world so that we might live through Him. – 1 John 4:7-9 AMP
It is wonderful to acknowledge God’s love for you but if the love of God towards you does not flow through you to others, it will mean that you have not known God accurately as He should be known. Our yielding to and acknowledgement of the love of God is the cure to all that ails the human condition. God’s love is not a sentimental, emotional, or fragile kind of love. It is His own nature. As mentioned in the New Testament, we are partakers of the Divine nature in Christ (2 Peter 1:4), and the Divine nature is love. We are therefore partakers of the Agape of God.
Agape Love is the source for the course of the gifts of the Spirit and the manifestation of God. In the first century world, prior to the teaching ministry of our Lord, Agape was a scarce word. It did not feature in many aspects of classical Greek Literature. It was so scarce because the word means to love something or someone to the point of sacrifice. It is about loving someone unconditionally and holding nothing back with no string attached. This kind of love was scarce to find.
In 1 Corinthians 14:1 KJV, Apostle Paul tells us to: “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy”. We are to follow after this Agape. To “follow after” indicates a quest, something your life depends on. In fact, some translations like The Message (MSG) say to go after love “as if your life depended on it.” This is because we won’t live and experience the fullness of this life that is ours as Sons of God in the Beloved if we live in contradiction to the way of love. This love is not just a profession, it is a way of life. The path or way of life of this ancient faith is His expressed love.
Agape must be our great quest above all else. We are made the channels of the Source of Agape love for all the manifestations of God to have their course through us. God’s love for us is the primacy of the Gospel; every single aspect of the Gospel in its manifold applications has to be understood through the Agape hermeneutics. Whether salvation, atonement, prayer, healing, or any aspect of our Christian experience, it must be understood by the Agape hermeneutics, which is the first principle of the Gospel. At no point are we to deviate from it to move on to something else. How beautiful it is to discern the Gospel, to be reliant upon the intensity with which God so loved.
We love God because He first loved us. We love Him with His own love which we have received. We rely upon His love in the midst of all our experiences. We are not the ones generating this love; we are pouring out the love that God has poured unto us because we have been made the participants of this interchange of Love. Even when it comes to ministry, our sacred service is our participation in Christ’s own present-day ministry, which we present to God and which is sanctified by the Spirit and made acceptable to God.
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour” Ephesians 5: 1-2 KJV. We are to be followers of God. The Greek word is “mimétés,” which means to mimic God. But how do we see God since the Divine essence is invisible to our human sight? This is why Christ was incarnate as a man. He made God’s Love visible, and we are to mimic what we saw in Christ in His life on earth and ministry. Mimic is an action word, thus, by implication, to love is not a profession or a creed, it is an action word. Our love walk is to imitate Christ because we are already God’s beloved children. We are to copy God and mimic Him; His entire life is one of love. His love is in us and because His love is in us, we can continue to breathe out the savour of that love to others as well. Our constant pursuit is to acknowledge God’s love for us and walk in such a way that His love flows from us to others. Acknowledging God’s love is the cure for all that ails the human condition. When we acknowledge the love of God, marvelous things happen, miracles occur.