God’s love (agape). Many people claim it, several more talk about it; but few truly understand it.
Paul called it incomprehensible and unfathomable. Job recorded it as unsearchable and limitless. Jeremiah confirmed it is everlasting. John described it as the evidence of being a follower of Christ. Mark reminded us to demonstrate it to God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Peter said it covers a multitude of sins. Even Jesus commanded His followers to show it to one another.
So what is this crazy thing called love?
- The first characteristic listed as evidence of God’s indwelling Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Though I can restrict it through selfishness or disobedience, I cannot help but demonstrate it when His love is flowing through me.
- God’s agape constrains behaviors and controls lifestyles (2 Corinthians 5:14). It prompts me into action as I become the hands and feet of Jesus. Whether or not others have loved me, His agape still compels and controls me.
- Love is of God. Since God loves us, we also ought to reciprocate it to others (1 John 4:7-8). God isn’t loving because He loves; He loves because He IS love.
- God’s agape is immeasurable and inescapable (Job 11:7-9). As a characteristic of God, agape is higher than heaven, deeper than hell, longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. Though we may not fully understand its expansiveness, we can revel in it, share it with others, and allow it to transform us from the inside out.
- It is the distinctive characteristic of a follower of Christ. (John 13:35). Since God is agape, if I am in Christ, I am not only the recipient of God’s agape, but I abide in His agape and become a conduit of His agape to others.
- Nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). I can’t be good enough to make Him love me more; I can’t be bad enough to make Him love me less.
What are Platos, Mekos, Bathos, and Hupsos of love?
No, these are not names for the Four Romantic Musketeers. They are expressive Greek words that vividly portray God’s love.
In Ephesians 3:17-19, Paul explores the immeasurable and incomprehensible nature of God’s love. He uses several word pictures to guide us to a clearer understanding. I’ve inserted descriptive words in parenthesis for additional emphasis. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted (stabilized) and grounded (settled) in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width (platos) and length (mekos) and depth (bathos) and height (hupsos)—to know (experientially; relationally) the love of Christ which passes (surpasses) knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Here is the mind-blowing truth about God’s agape:
- Platos (Width) – includes every nation, tribe, tongue, and people; all ages; all walks of life
- Mekos (Length) – is continual and unchanging; without end; eternal
- Bathos (Depth) – extends to the lowest condition; lowest human depravity
- Hupsos (Height) – ascends to the heavens; universal expanse; unlimited and boundless
If God’s love was an ocean, you couldn’t sail over it, you couldn’t see across it, you couldn’t map it, and you could never drain it. All you can do is immerse yourself in it, allowing it to flow in and through you as it transforms you into Christlikeness.
What am I to do with this love?
With Christ living inside me, I am to be firmly settled and stable in His agape so I can eagerly and fully understand the width, length, depth, and height of His love. But even more so, I experience the love of Christ only in an intimate relationship with Him. In that position, I understand His love far more than just logically. His agape surpasses human knowledge. I claim it only in relationship with Him as He fills me with Himself. And as a confident recipient of His love, I allow agape to flow from me to others.
God’s agape is the compelling constant that beckons my heart to my Savior’s side. It is the irresistible renewal that transforms my mind, making it obedient to Him. His agape is the overwhelming incomprehension that binds my soul to Him. It is the family characteristic that makes me resemble my Father as I become the hands and feet of Jesus in an unloving, hurting, and dying world.