Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 17 Number 5 May 2015
Page 12

A Little More on Love

Paul Clements

Paul ClementsGodly love (agape) was unique to religion until New Testament times. The word is found a few times in the Greek version of the Old Testament. It is more common in the New Testament. In noun form, “agape” is found 116 times in the New Testament. In verb form, “agapao” appears 142 times in the New Testament.

A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament defines “agape” as “the love which springs from admiration and is a decision of will…” “Agape” commits a self-denying and compassionate devotion to the one so loved. “Agape” is different from other words for love in that it has to do with the mind, not the emotions. This type of love is “willed” love. “Agape” love is not simply an emotion that comes from the heart unbidden, but it is a principle by which one lives.

To love our enemies (to have their best interest at heart) is contrary to our natural inclinations and emotions. Christ Jesus doesn’t demand that we love enemies with the same feelings and emotions that we have for family or spouse. We express emotional, feeling love toward loved ones and intellectual, decided love (agape) to all. “Agape” is a love that wills good for all. We love our enemies that we may be like God (Matthew 5:43-48). No matter what man does or what he is like, God still loves him. God seeks nothing but his good.

Agape” contains two basic ideas. It seeks man’s highest good and treats man as God would treat him. “Agape” is the ultimate love!

A New Covenant

Russ Vickers

Russ VickersWe are free from the power of sin, as Paul taught in Romans 6. We are also free from the power of the law, as he went on to tell us in Chapter 7.

The context is found in Romans 7:1-6 where Paul used an example from the field of law in general. He picked his example very carefully because he wanted to bring out two points – that we are set free from a law relationship and that we are free to enter into a new relationship.

So here it is. Verse 1: Law can apply only to people when they are alive. Verse 2: The law for marriage ceases to be in force when one of the marriage partners has died. Verse 3: As long as one’s spouse is living, a person breaks the law when he gives himself to another. However, after the death of one’s partner, this law no longer applies. In verse 4 is the application. Romans 7:4 says, “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” With our death “through the body of Christ,” we are no longer under the law but ready for a new relationship. We are going to be married to Christ by His Spirit. This is the new covenant.

This seems an elaborate way of making a point, and while Paul gave his example about marriage, law and death, we can hardly suppress questions about widows and widowers. We don’t think it’s very nice to say that they are free from the old law of marriage, but Paul wasn’t really concerned with marriage as he wrote these lines. He had his mind on what God did in Jesus Christ. That thinking shapes even this example.

He was telling us that “under the law” our lives are unfruitful. We cannot obey even one of the commandments. Yet, when “you have died to the law” in Christ, a person can enter a new life of fruit-bearing for Jesus.

Nearly every day we meet people who were brought up in Christian homes, who know “what’s right and what’s wrong and what they should do.” However, they don’t do it. They know the law, but they don’t know Christ. It is only in the new relationship by the blood and the Spirit of Christ that we can bear fruit.

[Editor’s Note: It is imperative that those who would be the faithful followers of Jesus Christ do the right things for the right reasons. In fact, right things spring forth out of the right reasons. As Christians, we do the right things in keeping with the new covenant because of who we are and what we have become through Jesus Christ. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]

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