18th July 2023
Dr. Cynthia Johnson writes of
"The Christian Journey of Spiritual Growth"
God is love. This truth is simple and profound.
Like the holiness of God, the love of God can only be partly comprehended by human understanding from what has been revealed and is being confirmed in the heart.
However, Brunner insists that "It is not that we already know what 'love' is, and can then apply it to God...the idea, the understanding of love - the Agape of the New Testament - can only be understood from what happens in revelation."
God has allowed the written revelation of His Word, and sent His Word in human space and time to illustrate His unconditional agape love.
To come to a fuller understanding of love, Nygren examined the meanings of two traditional Greek words for "love," eros and agape, and their significance in understanding God's love.
In the traditions of Oriental-Hellenism, the concept of love is understood as eros.
Eros is considerably more than the desire of the senses.
Broadly, it indicates the desire for that which one does not possess, but which one would like to have, or ought to have - an acquisitive love.
Contrary to eros is agape.
The original sense of agape meant a respect and sympathy between equals.
With the Septuagint's use of the word agape, the definition began to describe a conscious unworthiness before God, His mercy, and grace.
Agape is God's love that is spontaneous, unmotivated, and creative.
It is not "attracted" by some kind of loveable quality, but desires to pour forth upon those without value, upon the unlovable and defiled.
Divine love seeks out those for whom no one cares, those whom society would generally reject and detest, and creates value.
It is because God loves His creation that He reveals Himself and His love.
'For God so loved that He gave'...
All humans continue to go astray with deceitful and desperately corrupt hearts. Humans stand helpless in the light of God's holiness. Yet, Jesus' surrender on the cross illustrates the love of God and accomplishes that which humanity cannot.
In the garden, God commanded, "you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die"...
After Adam and Eve's sin, God came looking for them to cover their sin, to bridge the gap between His creature and sin, and re-establish a relationship.
God's will is where the holiness of God, and the necessary result of judgment is taken seriously, that one sees the infinite nature of the love of God.
By God's gift of grace one is saved through faith, and one cannot even come to God unless a work of grace has been done in one's heart.
Grace restores believers' relationship with God.
Bonhoeffer warned that allowing baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, and the preaching forgiveness without repentance, cheapens the grace of God.
It is true repentance and true acknowledgment of the sinner's situation that releases the grace for him or her to overcome the snares and captivity of the enemy.
For most people, this is incomprehensible love.
Because God is love and bestows His love on humanity, humanity is required to show love.
Even the best of people under the law could not accomplish this until Jesus. God knew the law only brings an awareness of sin and not the power to overcome. So, He sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice.
He was the perfect man who could love with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength, and through His sacrifice, empower all humanity to love.
This is the love for which one is to love one's neighbour.
The purpose for love poured out in the believer's heart is that it flows back toward God and flows out toward neighbours, friends, and enemies.
In conclusion, even when humanity does not understand, God acts in accordance with His unchanging nature.
God is not simply an idea or "the man upstairs," but is the sovereign God Almighty who wills to reveal Himself in holy love toward His creation.
Bible references avaiable, on request
Dr. Cynthia Johnson
Welcome! I am passionate about equipping people with practical skills they can use every day to grow into a life of peace, love, and joy.
Join me on this journey! Learn how to grow your faith, grow in hearing God's voice, and experience His presence more intimately.
Learn more about practically living The Christian Journey from the Home Page at www.drcynthiajohnson.com
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