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•AGAPE• Many Christians, I am sure, are familiar with the word “agape”, and what it means in Christianity. In case you do not know, it is simply “God’s love”; God’s unconditional love for mankind. As Christians, we reach and pass stages in our spiritual life. And I think there is a stage for a person to realise God’s love for him/her. I believe that stage is one of the rudimentary stages in Christ; that is, it is one of the things one must first realise in one’s spiritual growth. This realisation of agape however, is not stagnant in revelation or manifestation, God shows it to us almost every time-if not every time. The purpose of all what I have written so far then, is to show you this agape, in order to buoy your spirit, and perhaps, this message will help give you hope in your present predicament, if you are in any unfavourable situation. To delineate the big-picture of agape, I would like to start from the beginning of creation, when God’ s love began in manifestation for man, followed man all through events and circumstances, till it set a majestic hope for him in the future. In the beginning, God made man in His own image and after His likeness, and set him over all other things, blessing man to be fruitful, multiply, and submerge the earth. All these were done without man ever doing anything to deserve it, but for God’s love for Him. PSALM 8:4-6 says: ‘What is man that thou art mindful of him….? Yet thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honour. Thou hast given him dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet’. God set man over all other creations, this not warranted by any action of man, but by the will of God borne through love. This confirms the words of Apostle Paul in PHILIP. 2:11 that God is at work in every believer, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. This loving privilege was what man enjoyed as the prime creation in the garden of Eden. But, by one act of disobedience, man betrayed this love, making himself susceptible to what God hates strongly-sin. In ROM. 5:12 it is written: ‘Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned’. That was the consequence of Adam’s act of disobedience, and that single act, implanted sinful nature in man. Man degenerated so much that it grieved God (GEN. 6:5-6). Is it not some thing to grieve about? God made man and instructed him on ways that would make man live up to his worth. Man failed to live up to his worth, abiding with the sinfulness God so hated. Therefore, what God hated so much dwelt in whom God loved so much. It would have been easier for God to instantly annihilate man for this; it would have cost Him nothing, after all, He is the God that made man, He had every right to do so without being questioned, and that would have been the end of man. And really, God would have been justified, since He made man for prosperity only for man to willfully disobey Him. But for nothing more than love-yes, nothing more than love, God preserved man even at the worst moments. Noah was preserved when he could have been easily killed by the great flood. Even though, the Bible says he was a righteous man, I boldly write that it was largely God’s love that preserved him. For every action of man to please God is always coloured by imperfection-however small that could be. That was why Christ, the only perfect One came and died to assist us. If man had been perfect, he would have been able to atone for his sin once for all, without Christ’s intercession. For Noah then to be found righteous, it was not all through his righteousness, no, the righteousness of man cannot meet the utmost standard of God’s requirement of righteousness-except through Christ. So, Noah’s righteousness was there, but not all, it was filled in, in places where it was lacking by God’s love which caused Him to accept Noah’s efforts at righteousness. More over, if Noah was righteousness, were his familial relations who were preserved along with him, wrote about as being righteous? No, of course not. Not all of them might have been righteous. Besides all these, let us consider the Bible’s words about this: ‘But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord’ GEN. 6:8. So, through God’s love of accepting Noah’s efforts at righteousness-t ranslated as His favour, in contrast with other sin-engulfed people around, the human race was preserved, because ultimately, God had no plan at all in making man perish for ever, although the many sinful actions of man had warranted it. You would notice that God told Noah to preserve every living thing by saving two of their kind, which were male and female (GEN. 6:18-19). This was done for the purpose of procreation. So, though man was a great disappointment, God’s love still chose to sustain him through Noah and his family. This love carried man through all circumstances that would have required his perdition. Israel, the favoured country through which God held his plan of man’s redemption, had mostly, men with stubborn hearts of disobedience. The Israelites were people that grieved God time and again, making Him jealous, displaying their sinful ways in atrocious ways; they virtually chose to discount all the favours of God upon them whenever they wanted. But for God’s plan of man’s redemption set in one of their lineages or tribes-Judah (GEN. 49:10-12), God chose to overlook many of their sins, disobedience, and obstinacy. God’s love carried them on even when He was not supposed to. That was mainly how God’s unconditional love was proven in the Old Testament. It was the bird that flew the Israelites above all other nations, and all through the Old Testament…until Christ came. Apostle Paul wrote: ‘So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons’. GAL. 4:3-5. Yes, that is the ultimate act of God’s love-becoming a man. Yes, God became a man by sending Christ in the likeness of sinful flesh, to redeem man from the sinful demands of the flesh (ROM. 8:3). And so, for centuries, God’s love followed man till God became man Himself, in the form of Christ, so as to redeem man from his sinful nature. And through Christ’s sacrifice, we, that were formerly sinful, became holy in God’s sight so much that He deemed us fit to receive His Spirit! This Spirit that follows us where we go; the God in us. Bear in mind that man never deserved this, he never did anything to deserve Christ’s sacrifice; rather, much of what he did was to further fall short of God’s standard due to his sinful nature. The much known JOHN 3:16 says: ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish (in sin) but have eternal life’. Christ came, bore our sins; He was scourged, mocked, beaten, despised, shamed, crucified, all for our sake. And in death, He exhausted all what we should suffer for our sinful actions, so that there remained not, any iota of sin that was not suffered for by Him. And after death, He resurrected, conquering sin, and the death it caused (ISA. 53:4-6; ROM. 8:1-4; COL. 1:15-23). All these for you, me, and every other person that choose to believe. That is agape: God’s unconditional love that chose to overlook the flaws of man, seeing only his redemption, establishing man again, as God’s child, and heir of an eternal world with Him(ROM. 8:14-17). This agape stands unconditionally brethren, and it sees to every demand, call, desire, prayer, etc. It was what God wanted for man, and that, He has done in Christ Jesus, that man should ask and receive (MAT. 7:7-12, PHILIP. 4:6-7). This defeats any obstacle in your way, Christ has broken all obstacles in your way. Just ask God; you will get, I assure you that in Christ Jesus. THE LOVE OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS BE WITH YOU (AMEN)

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•AGAPE•

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