In Part 1 of “Let’s Get Started” we touched on different types of love and defined what “agape” love is. So in case you missed it, just head over there to read through it. As we continue here in Part 2, let’s dig deeper into understanding God’s agape love for us.
God’s love is truly amazing and perhaps the clearest example where we see the agape love of God for us defined is in John chapter 3 where it says the following:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
God so “agaped” the world that He allowed Jesus, His one and only Son, to live among us, die on the cross for us, and then rise again defeating death. He did this so that whoever believes, meaning whoever places his or her trust in Jesus, shall not perish but instead can have eternal life. And what is eternal life? It is having a personal relationship with God where we live forever in Heaven and where God helps us in this life until we get there.
God the Father gave the Son so that we don’t have to suffer the consequences of our sins, but instead we can receive something better, even though we don’t deserve it. God loves us so much that Jesus was willing to die on the cross so that we can live forever, and this took place even though we sin against God. As it says in Romans chapter 5:
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
Even though God knew we would do that which dishonors, grieves and hurts Him, He still chose to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He chose to die for us. Now that’s love! That’s agape love! It’s a totally unwavering, selfless, sacrificial and unconditional love.
Even as I say this, though, I know that it can still be hard for us to grasp this truth not just because God’s love is beyond full comprehension, but also because we may not believe that it is true for us as persons. In other words, we can believe that God loves the world collectively, but does He really love you and me individually?
In the Whisper Test, a woman named Mary Ann Bird writes:
“I grew up knowing I was different, and I hated it. I was born with a cleft palate, and when I started school, my classmates made it clear to me how I looked to others: a little girl with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech. When schoolmates asked, “What happened to your lip? I’d tell them I’d fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to have suffered an accident than to have been born different. I was convinced that no one outside my family could love me. There was, however, a teacher in the second grade that we all adored – Mrs. Leonard. She was short, round, and happy – a sparkling lady. Annually, we had a hearing test. Mrs. Leonard gave the test to everyone in the class, and finally it was my turn. I knew from past years that as we stood together against the door and covered one ear, the teacher sitting at her desk would whisper something, and we would repeat it back – things like “The sky is blue” or “Do you have new shoes?” I waited there for those words that God must have put into her mouth, those seven words that changed my life. Mrs. Leonard said, in her whisper, “I wish you were my little girl”
And you know what? God says to every person, “I wish you were my son” or “I wish you were my daughter.” God doesn’t just love the world. He loves you and me individually. He loves each of us personally.
In Let’s Get Started: Part 3, we will wrap our time focusing on the essential truth that God loves you and me.
Paul McCart is a Pastor with over 20 years of experience in lead pastor, church planting, and youth ministry experience. Paul has been married to his wife for 25 years and has three sons. He loves to have fun and laugh with friends!