Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 32 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).
Title: Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 32 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, " You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
What is surprising is that Paul leaves out the first command of the Law, what the Lord called the greatest commandment, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind."
Paul uses agape for God four times. Paul is rising the idea of agape to a level that Christ revealed to him and this rise only brought a more real and intense personal relationship between God and the believer as well as the believer and his fellow man.
We possess nothing to give to Him. God sacrifices for us, we have nothing to sacrifice for Him.
The believer is not independent from God. His giving of himself to God is never more than a response. It is not an independent decision.
At its best and highest, the believer's submission to God is but a reflex of God's love, by which it is "motivated." Man's devotion to God therefore is emphasized with another name - pistis [faith].
Paul almost gives up speaking about the agape of man to God. He reserves his pages for the agape of God. Everything comes from God. Paul took the love taught by Christ and made it identical with the agape of Jesus on the cross, the agape that the Lord had given and which was in fact, Him.
Paul takes the spiritual reality that is love towards God and gives it its proper name - faith. Faith includes in itself the whole devotion of love, while emphasizing that it has the character of a response, that it is reciprocated love.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
Mature faith is mature love, faith, hope, and love and the greatest of these is love.
Paul far more often portrays agape as a love for one's neighbor.
Rom 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
Rom 13:9 For this, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Rom 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.
Paul is not divorcing this command from love for God, but refers it to the believer's fellowship with God [response to God's agape] - abiding in His love, Spirit, mind, and purpose.
As in Gal 5:14 Paul seems to be divorcing this command from the love for God, but in fact He is referring it back to the believer's fellowship with God by abiding in God's love, walking by means of the Spirit, and co-participating in the mind of God and the holiness of God. These do not neglect love for God but in fact emphasizes it as a response to God's love for us, and so what is removed is any notion that we love God as independent creatures from Him, but do so as those who are in Him and loved by Him.
When our lives are so governed by faith and fellowship as a result of God's love, the fact that we love Him in response is a given, and His agape love in us expressed towards our neighbor is a reality.
Remember what we saw in Eph 5.
Eph 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
Eph 5:2 and walk in love [that is the proper response], just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
Eph 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
Eph 4:26 Be angry [at sin and evil], and yet do not sin [anger directed at your neighbor]; do not let the sun go down on your anger [don't dwell upon it],
Eph 4:27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.
Eph 4:28 Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need.
Eph 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [sin], by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice [all sins to our neighbor].
Eph 4:32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Eph 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit [fully submitted to Him and so fully controlled and influenced],
Eph 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
Eph 5:20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
Eph 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
Eph 5:22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;
The close connection is made between God's love and the Christian's love for his neighbor as he fellowships with God.
For the love of Christ controls [sunecho = constrains] us
The control or constraint is from selfishness, being egotistical, worldly, fleshly or carnal. God's love envelopes us and overruns us when we come to know it and come to believe it.
The word agape, God's very love revealed at the cross, can be used for neighborly love because the believer is never a center of activity independent from God.
The believer cannot agape love his neighbor independently from God and so it is God's very love, and it is not watered down or diminished in any way. It is perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect.
In the life that is governed by agape, the acting subject is not man himself; it is God, the Spirit of God, and the love of Christ as the believer enjoys deep and intimate fellowship.
Between Christ and the Christian there is a deep, intimate fellowship.
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.
In virtue of this intimate fellowship, it is Christ who is the real subject of the Christian life.
By His love, power, mercy, and truth we come to participate with Him in a pure motivation to walk with Him, make the same decisions as Him, think like Him, conduct ourselves like Him, in other words, be conformed into His image.
Agape is a kind of pneumatic fluid, which is shed abroad in our hearts.
the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Divine agape infused by the Holy Spirit forms the real substance of the Christian life, and in the life that Christians lead among their fellow-men it is meant to be passed on to others.