|Amazing Grace Church
|Agape - The God Kind of Love ©
|That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth
of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise,
having no hope, and without God in the world : EPH2: 12.
Without God, before you were born-again, you were a creature who had doomed yourself to Hell by rebelling against the commandment of God. You had a desperately wicked heart that could do absolutely nothing to correct your condition. Your money couldn't help, philosophy couldn't help, all your talent and good looks couldn't help, and religion certainly couldn't help. You had sinned and broken your relationship with God, and you became a child of the Devil, or Satan. Nothing you could offer for ransom, nor anything you could say or do could make any difference, your eternity was certain and by your own choice you had forfeited any hope of Heaven
As you lived, when faced with almost any problem, you could at least come up with a good reason or excuse for (your) failure, but not this time. In short, you were doomed to Hell, without any hope at all. In Romans 7:9, the Apostle Paul said it this way, "I was alive once, without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died". Eph 2:12 says you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God, in the world.
Satan, your adversary, had you firmly in his grip and was glad to have the opportunity to see you tormented for all eternity by deceiving you into rebelling against God, and, through your own willfulness, condemning yourself to spend eternity with him, the devil, in the lake of fire. Satan didn't even know your name, nor did he care who you were or anything about you...all he knew was that God wanted you back, and because of his hatred for God, Satan was pleased to have you accompany him in his own doom, because he knew that God loves you. What did Satan do that caused you to rebel? He deceived you, but you believed the lie, because you didn't know Jesus, the Truth.
God, Creator of the universe, made you in His own image likeness. This included a free will just like his own, so that you would be able to love him back, with the kind of love that only God has, Agape love. In fact, God not only has this love, HE IS THIS LOVE. Not human love, but unconditional love. Without any reason at all other than his love for you personally, He humbled Himself, and came to earth in the form of a man. He died for you, to save you from an eternity of torment and punishment. It was a punishment that you richly deserved, but you were so deceived that you didn't even fully realize the terrible problem you had. You may not have even known the awful destiny that awaited you. You went about your way without a care, like a blind man on a cliff's edge.
God has unlimited power, in fact God is unlimited in anything and everything He is and does. And God can do anything that He wants to do, without any restraints whatever, because He is God. He answers to no one. Notwithstanding, and because of his great unconditional love, God deliberately limited himself by covenant, in order to give us a free will. There are now some things that God cannot do, but this is by his own choice. The benefit of giving us a free will is that we can choose to love God. Without a free will, we would be nothing but pawns in a kind of cosmic game. This is not God's will for man.
Grace is the unmerited favor of God. The amazing thing about grace is that Jesus died for you because he chose to do so. There is no other reason. He didn't do it because of who you are or who the devil is...He didn't do it because He owed you anything, or because you were in some way worthy, or He thought that maybe you would be able to somehow repay Him. He did it just because He wanted to. 1 John 3: 16-18; 1 John 4:10
Jesus said we must be born-again, because that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. It is great to be born-again and life gets better every day, but sooner or later the Love that God shed abroad in our hearts, (RO5:5) begins to generate reasonings that we need somehow to repay God for what He has done. But you can't pay God back, no one can. Because of the infinite value of the gift, God has put the highest possible price tag on it....free. There is no way to pay back for this free gift from Father God. And because it is just that - a free gift - there is no debt. You do not owe God anything. Grace is amazing!
When we understand this, a profound love, unconditional love, agape' (ag-ah'-pay) love - begins to come into our lives and thoughts. We want be with God and to be part of anything he wants to do. We want to serve God. We want to be controlled by this love, instead of self.
What do we have and what can we do? God wants us to develop a Godly character, and God wants us to use that Godly character as a container to take Himself in His power and in His great Love to a lost and dying world. That power is the Love He has shed abroad in our hearts. Agape', The GOD kind of love. He wants us to do that as a response to His love for us, not in anyway as any kind of an effort to repay Him. Even if we do this, God will not love us more, because his love for us is already perfect and cannot be improved upon, or diminished.
In both English and Japanese we use the word "love" loosely. We love God, we love our spouse, and we may love our dog or cat. In English, we can even love football or hot dogs! But what is love? The Greek language, in which the New Testament was written, is much more expressive than either Japanese or English. In the Greek, there are four words for love:
We want to be able to express this Agape' love, but how do we go about it? As Christians, we have experienced being the loved, but as instruments of God and ambassadors for Him, how do we learn to walk in Agape' love? It is a decision that we can make. Agape' love is NOT something that occurs naturally in the Christian life, it must be sought after, and it is received little by little. It comes by revelation of Jesus Christ. It is place into your spirit at the moment of the new birth, but must be "worked" into your thinking and feelings. It is an act of your will. Agape' is a choice that you can make. Agape' is no accident.
Revelation of Jesus Christ is something that we should all expect in our Christian life. As we study our bibles, Jesus is revealed to all of us by the Holy Spirit. This is crucial to the Christian. If you don't know the bible, which is the Word of God, you won't recognize Jesus, because He IS the Word of God. You are subject to continued deception by Satan, even if you have been born-again. This is why we have so many denominations. But we can be prepared and we can be expectant.
If you are born-again, your salvation is assured, you are no longer under the law, you are under grace....it is time for us to move on to the works that Jesus has prepared for us. These "disciplines" are like exercises that will develop your character, and allow more and more of God's light to shine into your heart. As that light comes in, darkness is driven away and we are conformed into the image of Jesus. We will then be able to love the God kind of love, and operate in the God kind of power. This is the God kind of life! This is the power to save, heal, and deliver...the kind of love that wins people that wins nations...the kind of love that will win Japan. Supernatural agape' love...the God kind of love.