Agape is a word that is not commonly used by people. The English word agape means, ‘ajar’, ‘open’, ‘amazed’ etc., but the Greek word agapē means, the unconditional love of God for humankind. And this Agape love is mentioned only in the Bible explaining how God has been displaying His love for mankind from the beginning till now.
If we look at ourselves, we find how intelligent and supreme we are from all other animals and all the creations as a whole. The Bible says we were created in God’s image as He formed us from the dust whereas He created all others just by His commands and words.
Doesn’t it show His special love and purpose behind creating us?
Apart from that in human history, we all know, how God has been a God of provision, sustenance and protection. He has always been faithful to control the cosmos, the seasons, the environment etc., all because of His love for us. He never abandons any provisions from anyone despite our deformities and iniquities.
Just imagine if one day, God calls me from heaven and says, “Chiradeep, you have been so wicked for last one month, so as a punishment, sunlight will be suspended for you over a period of one week.” And I will be in darkness for the next seven days. But the good news is He has never done like that to me or to any human-like me though we have always been taken Him and His goodness for granted. His love has always been unconditional whether we obey Him or follow His instructions. The only time we suffer when we go against His set system which He had set for the whole creation to run around it.
But the agape love of God manifested only in the context of Jesus’s coming to the world and dying for the whole of humankind. I agree it is not easy to understand or grasp. As a young boy, I had this quest in my mind which remained and unanswered and unresolved for many years. The quest was – “Why on earth Jesus had to take birth and die if He was God. If He simply uses His might and authority everything will come into order… Then why this drama of such a painful death came into the scene in the first place?” My logical young mind couldn’t find any satisfying explanation for this question.
This question never left me till I entered adulthood leaving behind my teenage years. This burden weighed me down till one of my teachers enlightened me about The Truth through a few truths from the eternal scripture.
I remember, he asked me to name God’s attributes according to my generalized idea of God. As always, I was prompt to respond by giving a list of attributes that seemed appropriate to me – God is Holy, Righteous, Just, Kind, Good, Love etc…
He smiled and started to explain all the attributes of God that I had mentioned to him. As he went on illuminating my mind, I began to analyse them one after the other. This eventually addressed my quest and I could feel a calmness in my whole being.
Let me share about it in details….
If we read the Bible, we will find God’s these attributes are mentioned numerous times but for this article, I am quoting a few of them only –
God is Holy: “For I am the Lord your God. You must consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.”
God is Righteous: “The Lord is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness.”
God is Just: “The Lord is known for his justice. The wicked are trapped by their own deeds.”
God’s holiness, righteousness and justice debar any relationship or connection between Him with the unholy, unrighteous and unjust ones.
Humanly even if we are corrupted, we will never want to be identified with corruption in any manner. So, when it comes to God, who is holy, righteous and just, it is impossible to think that He can easily mingle with us.
Mankind sinned against God and had fallen short of the glory of God and became unholy, unrighteous and unjust – “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”
All the above-mentioned attributes of God declare that man cannot come to the presence of God. General understanding says that the consequence of any wrongdoing is punishment. So, men have to be punished. And the punishment is “DEATH” – “For the wages of sin is death…”.
That day when I was eagerly and desperately waiting for my teacher to help me understand my long-borne quest, he dramatically paused there and looked at me while I was amazed at his logical and Biblically proved explanations about the way God deals with His created humans.
He started speaking again about one last attribute of God with a confident smile on his face.
God is LOVE (includes kindness and goodness): The Bible says,
“So, God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God, He created them; male and female he created them.”
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”The Bible
God’s love ensures and reflects God’s heart – “I created these men and women in my own image, how can I punish them! I will save them from this eternal death. I will make them righteous, just and holy. I will give then eternal life”.
And thus, they can ultimately come to the presence of a Holy, Righteous and Just God.
God can’t die being God and being a Spirit. So, He had to take the form of Jesus – the human form of God with flesh and blood so that He can die substituting the whole human race, saving them from the wages of sin.
While dying on that cross, God showcased all His attributes together not even abandoning one. This was the reason why He had to die for you, me and for all others in this world.
Friends! In my life of pain and suffering, I have known God’s agape love for me all the time. It is possible only when we give in to Him. In closing, I can only say, “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. Tasting and Visualising are two of the sensory perceptions that supersede the other sensory perceptions when it comes to authenticating God’s goodness and unconditional love in one’s own life.