Next Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, so I thought it would only be fitting today to talk about love. After all, the scriptures often talk about love. If I had to pick up one word to sum up the Gospel of Christ, it would be love.
In the New Testament, the Greek has three different words for Love. The first word is Eros. It is physical and romantic love. Eros is the basis for the English word erotic, but it encompasses more than that. It is the type of love that is typically shown in romantic comedies such as Sleepless in Seattle or Pretty Woman.
The second word for love in Greek is Philia. This is the most common word for love in the New Testament. It has been described as brotherly love or a “person to person love between equals”. It is a friendly love that shows mutual respect. It is the basis of many words such a philanthropy and philosophy. It is also the root word in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love.
The third type of love is Agape. The word Agape was not very widespread until the Gospels were written. In modern terms, we would call Agape, unconditional love. It is a love that gives everything, but asks for nothing in return. It is self-sacrificing love. It can be the deep seated love that is built in a relationship over time. It can also be the love that a parent has for a child.
It is this Agape love that God has for humanity. God loves us unconditionally. Even though we sin and screw up and don’t follow God as faithfully as we should, God continues to love us. “For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son.” It is this same Agape love that we are called to have for both God and neighbor. 1 John 4:8 reads, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
God loves us unconditionally. God loves us when we mess up, when we fall short of what we should be, even when we hurt God. It is unconditional. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We are called to God and to love our brothers and sisters in the same manner. Jesus tells us, “there is no other commandment greater than these.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.