The Bible has a number of “one another” exhortations that need to be observed by all of us. One such exhortation is that we are to “love one another.” It is not an option for the one who claims to be a Christian. Loving one another is:
• Commanded by Jesus. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
• Taught by Paul. “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).
• Instructed by Peter. “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart” (I Peter 1:22).
• Emphasized by John. “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (I John 3:11).
And John has a lot more to say about it that needs to be heeded. But hear this: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (I John 4:8). The Greeks had four words for this one English word “love.” There is “phileo,” which is love for mankind. Then there is “storge,” the love of family. We follow that with “eros,” which is intimate love. And finally, “agape,” the word for love we see most often in the Bible. Agape love can best be described in this way: “The love that seeks the other person’s highest good no matter what the other person does.” God is love John said. And His love for us is “agape love.” That is seen in a verse like this one: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died on the cross” (Romans 5:8). That is God seeking our highest good in spite of the fact that we were still guilty of sin. Such knowledge should motivate us to love God. Loving God ultimately enables us to know Him. What a blessing!
But then John also says this: “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen (I John 4:20)? So loving God is determined by how we love our fellow man. What about you and me? Is our love defined by this Greek word “agape?”
(Content sponsored by Magnolia Bible College)