Agape Love

2 Peter 1:7 - “and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”

Peter tells the church in 2 Peter 1, to add to their faith all of these qualities.  Add to you faith, godliness and brotherly affection, and love.  When I first read that I expected the word love that is used there to be the greek word “phileo”, which is a type of brotherly love.  (The city of Philadelphia, comes from that word and is nicknamed “the city of brotherly love”).  I expected it to be the kind of love that is shared in a family or among friends, but in the Greek language the word love that is used in that verse is actually the word “agape”.  Agape is the type of love that God has for us.  It is a selfless love.  It is not self seeking or selfish in any way.  Peter is telling the church basically to love other people with a perfect love.  He is telling them to do something they are incapable of, we cannot love with a perfect love.  Why not? Because we get in the way.

I was teaching a group of middle schoolers about this and the question was asked, “why can’t you love with a perfect love?”  The room got quiet, no one had an answer so my wife tried to give them a hint:  she said the answer is a 3 letter word.  One girl thought for a minute and she said, “I know, its J-O-N, Jon.  Thats the 3 letter word.”  Everyone started laughing because Jon is my name.  However she was 100% right.  The reason I can’t love with a perfect love is that I get in the way.  I hold myself back.  I get prideful, I get selfish, I want my way, I make demands.  She was right J-O-N keeps my from loving with a perfect love.  It is impossible for us because we have a sin nature and that nature wants self to be #1.  

We cannot love perfectly, however Jesus can, and according to the word of God, Jesus lives within us.  His Spirit takes up residence in our lives, and His Spirit can enable us to love with that agape, perfect love.  Our nature is sinful, we are bent towards sin and self, but God comes in and gives us a new nature, He transforms us.  He changes our nature, so that we can become what He wants us to become.  Through Jesus we have a new nature, one that truly can love completely and selflessly.  One that truly can put other people first.  It is impossible for us, but possible for God.  In fact all things are possible through Him, He can even transform us and give us a new nature.  He can enable us to love as Jesus loved.  Through Jesus self can be moved out of the way and we can live, truly loving other people, for the glory of God.