Christmas Begins With Christ By Nathele Graham We’ve made it through another year, and we…
By Nathele Graham
What is the definition of “love”? In Greek, there are various words that are translated love, and each is used for a specific type of love. The one most commonly associated with God is agape. It’s the caring type of love that all Christians should display for the world to see, especially to each other. That word appears 116 times in Scripture, but the first place it’s used is in a negative sense.
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” – Matthew 24-12.
Jesus used agape in describing the way life will be as we draw nearer to the Tribulation There will be false prophets who deceive people, and persecution will be great. There will be very little agape evidenced around us. Do we see any of the “iniquity” today? The Greek word “anomia” is translated iniquity, and it means a condition without law either because of ignorance or because of violating it. It’s also translated “unrighteousness” and “transgression”. We are moving quickly into a very wicked time. As the final seven years of life on earth draw near, agape is growing cold. Brothers and sisters, we need to stop allowing the wickedness of the world to negatively affect how we serve Jesus. Christians are very, very blessed in that our sins are forgiven, and we have hope in Jesus. We are the ones who need to share God’s perfect love with the people who live in this wicked and evil world that’s under the control of Satan.
“Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” – Romans 4:7-8.
Because Christians have accepted Christ for salvation, our sins are forgiven. Even King David understood this blessing. In a psalm of praise for God’s mercy, he wrote: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:12.
David wasn’t a Christian, but he truly understood repentance and turning from sin. It’s a blessing that God agapes us so much, and we should humbly show our gratitude to God by living to please Him.
King David was an excellent king. He loved the Lord and his desire was to honor God with his life. Was he perfect? Hardly, but when confronted with his sin he was broken over it. He never committed that sin again, but told God how sorry he was. I see many so-called Christians, giving lip service to Jesus, but not truly repenting of their sin. They continue to hold tightly to the sin from which they claim to have repented. When we accept Christ, our sins are forgiven, but in accepting Christ’s forgiveness, we need to repent. That means to change your mind about the sin you embrace, and turn from that sin. If you continue to lust after fleshly desires and give into that lust, then you haven’t truly repented. As long as we live on this side of Heaven, we will always struggle against sin in order to honor God, or even give into the sin and lust found in the world. Jesus forgave a woman who had been having a sexual encounter with a man she wasn’t married to. He forgave her, but He told her to stop sinning. We can’t accept His forgiveness, then mock Him by continuing to sin. The Apostle John assures us of God’s forgiveness.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” – 1 John 1:9-10.
Everyone sins. Gossiping is a sin, disrespecting parents is a sin, sexual activity outside of a one man/one woman marriage is a sin, and there are more. The closer you draw to God, the more broken you will be over sin. Today it’s common to hear someone try to justify their own sin by saying that Jesus would have been a part of the sin. That’s so wrong. I’ve even heard people say that Jesus would be leading gay pride parades. First, pride is a sin and second, those parades glorify sin and Jesus would not participate. He would absolutely love the sinner, and if they repented of their sin He would forgive, but He wouldn’t celebrate the sin.
As Christians, we need to stand firm upon God’s word. Nations may “legalize” sin, but that doesn’t make sin right in God’s eyes. How do we, as Christians, show God’s agape to a world that embraces sin and promotes ungodliness? It isn’t agape to allow another person to die in their sins because they love that sin so much. It isn’t agape to allow Jesus to be slandered and mocked by people who say He would accept sin and even promote it. We can’t expect people blinded by sin to know who Jesus was and what He did for us. On the other hand, we need to show agape to those who are lost in sin. Paul was a very wicked man, who thought he was serving God by arresting and murdering those who embraced Christ for salvation. While he was on a mission to punish Christians in Damascus, he met Jesus. Paul repented of his way of life and became a true follower of Christ. It is Paul’s example of missionary work that we should follow. It was Paul who wrote letters to Christians to encourage them and keep them grounded in the faith. Paul was bold in his witness for Christ and didn’t fear prison or being beaten, but loved people enough to spread the Gospel. His letters are inspired by the Holy Spirit and stand today as Christian doctrine. Each letter should be used for information about Christian life. Our first and foremost example is Christ, but Paul’s writings are full of instruction for us. His letters to the believers in Corinth give us some important information. The attitude of the Corinthians was what today would be called a “seeker friendly” congregation who were proud of the sin they accepted. A man was in a sexual relationship with his father’s wife. Paul told them to expel him from the congregation until he repented. He eventually did, and they accepted him back. Today we see many pastors who claim to be homosexual, and congregations hosting drag queens to preach from the pulpit. Should we, who honor God, get angry? We shouldn’t accept any of this. Paul had a lot to say about “charity” which is also translated from the Greek word agape, often translated love.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1.
We can talk and scold and make ourselves very annoying, but if our words aren’t spoken with agape, we are just making noise. We might be the most “perfect” person in our walk with Christ, displaying spiritual gifts, but without agape we aren’t serving Him.
“And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:2-3.
Our simple human minds like to think that doing things (works) is enough. Works are good, but works don’t save anybody. If the Gospel isn’t shared with lost souls, you aren’t showing love.
Jesus is our example. He loved people, but that love didn’t mean accepting their sin. Jesus shared the Gospel, but although He was a carpenter by trade, He never built a house or planted crops for anybody He met He healed many people, but He didn’t just throw money at them. It was up to those that were healed to then earn their living and not accept welfare. When they were unable to work, it was acceptable to beg, but once healed, welfare wasn’t acceptable. The Apostle Paul goes on to give a picture of agape love.
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind, charity envieth not, charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
A respected Bible teacher once said to read through these verses, but place your own name in place of “charity”. That is very humbling. The word “charity” is translated from agape. If you show God’s perfect agape love, then you serve Him well. Don’t boast or brag about all the wonderful things you’ve done, but give God the glory. Don’t do good works for what you will profit from them, but for what the Kingdom of God will gain.
Remember water is wet because that’s what it is. Honey is sweet because that’s what it is. God is agape, because that’s what He is. God is love. If we love Him, then we need to follow Him and live to please Him.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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