“He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Pet. 1:4). Our study on Christian character began with this statement. God has graciously extended to us the blessing of salvation and the privilege of becoming his children (1 John 3:1). Following this statement, Peter challenges us to respond to God’s initiative by growing up in Christian character. “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love” (2 Pet. 1:5-8).
Agape love is the supreme virtue (1 Cor. 13:13). Ranking above friendship love and brotherly love, agape is unselfish concern for others. To love is to be full of good will and to exhibit the same (Thayer’s Lexicon). Love is not an emotion; it is not merely a reaction to how others treat us (Matt. 5:43-48). Love is a matter of right and wrong. It is a choice that we make. We choose whether to love or not. Love makes the first move. Love keeps us going when other motives fail us (1 Cor. 13:8). God loves us and gave his Son for us (John 3:16). Jesus loves us and gave his life for us (1 John 3:16). God expects us to love him, and to love one another in the same way (1 John 4:19; John 13:34-35). Love is not just a nice word; it is action that demonstrates our deep care and concern for others (1 John 3:18).
We begin to look at just a few of the major New Testament statements regarding love. Let us open our hearts to learn and to serve. Stay tuned…
To be a child of God is the greatest privilege we have, but we also have responsibility. May God bless us all as we work with his Spirit to develop the character the Father expects of his children. TC