Deceptive Love

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17). To be led by the Holy Spirit is to live in freedom. Whereas license is counterfeit freedom, Eros is counterfeit love. Eros is the fictitious Greek god of erotic “love.” The word “eros” doesn’t actually occur in Scripture. The two prominent words translated as love in Scripture are “agape” and “phileo,” and there is a fundamental difference between the two. Phileo is brotherly love between two people. Philadelphia means “city of brotherly love.” It is commendable, but conditional. I love you, because (fill in the blank). Phileo is dependent upon the object, whereas agape is not.

Agape is a noun, but the same word can be a verb (agapeo). Agapeo is a loving action extended to another. “For God so loved the world that He gave . . .”(Jn. 3:16). The practical application for Christians to that verse is 1 Jn. 3:16,17, “We know love by this, that he laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” It is sentimentality, not agape, to say that you love someone and do nothing on their behalf.

When used as a noun, agape refers to the character of God. “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8). “Love is patient, love is kind, etc.” (1 Cor. 13:4). God loves us, because God is love. It is his nature to love us, which is why it is unconditional. Love considers the other person as more important than themselves (Phil, 2:3). Agape is totally unselfish. Lust is disgustingly selfish. When Christian spouses “make love” with one another they are seeking to please the other person, not striving to gratify their own lustful desires.

Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13:35). Misunderstanding love is where the liberal church has grievously erred. Tolerating homosexual behavior is not the loving thing to do. They have disjoined true love from the character of God, who says such behavior is an abomination. True love would help such people overcome their addictive behavior by helping them remove the barriers to their intimacy with God through genuine repentance and faith. Jesus came to set captives free and bind up the broken hearted, and that is what He has called us to do, and that will not happen by excusing sinful behavior.

Dr. Neil

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