Out of Agape – What we do not deserve

Jesus cries out one last time, and then dies on the cross.

At that moment the immense, heavy veil in the temple is torn apart, ripped from top to bottom. 

The veil set apart a place in the temple known as the Holy of Holies, a place where only the chosen high priest could enter into the presence of God. Something like 60 feet high and 4 inches thick, it represented the barrier between sinful man and the holy God.  

Christ’s blood gives us what we do not deserve.

We deserve to be banished forever from the presence of the Most Holy God.

Yet He loved us so much that He died to tear apart the barrier between us. And now we can walk into the presence of God. I don’t deserve to enter there, but His love opens the way and invites me in.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.

He tore apart that veil because He loved us. So, as the writer of Hebrews goes on to say, let us enter in, completely trusting Him and His love.

he does not treat us as our sins deserve
       or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
       so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
       so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

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Scripture: Hebrews 10:19-22 (NLT); Psalm 103:10-12 (NIV)

Out of Agape – Life and the Power to live it

For a child of God, all of life springs from agape, the love of God that focuses on loving action.

We were dead in our sin; He gave us life.
We are dust; He is making us immortal.
We were sinners; He is changing our nature into the nature of God.
Our hearts were deceitful; He created a new and clean heart.
The life we live is Christ living in us. He created it and He lives it.
He supplies the power and produces the fruit.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6)

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. (Philippians 2:13, bold added)

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:4-5)

The love of Christ gave us life. The Vine sustains us and bears much fruit. We can do everything through Christ, the One who gives us strength.

Truly, all of my life depends on God’s agape.

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All Scripture from the New Living Translation.

Out of Agape – What we cannot gain ourselves

God says He is the God of hope, the God of peace, the God of comfort, and the God of second chances.

Because we were born into Adam’s family, we will never find these things on our own.

But when we were brought into the family of God and given a new birth into a life by His Spirit, then the Father, the Source, freely gives all these things to His children. 

Because He loves us.

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Out of Agape – Abundant Life

Wake up! Open your eyes. Today, you write your own psalms.

Every child of God can identify with so much of what is written in the book of Psalms: everything is there, from despair, discouragement, hopelessness, and cries for a new heart to dances of joy, celebration, victory, thankfulness and awed worship.

The question posed yesterday asked what God’s agape has enacted in your life. If your mind needs priming, just page through the psalms and read it all there. Because He loves His children, the Holy God of the universe heals our diseases, blots out the stains of our sin, defeats our enemies, arms us with His weapons, leads beside still waters, satisfies desires with good things, renews our strength, hides us in times of trouble, guides with His counsel, holds us as we walk through fire and flood …

And that’s just the beginning of the list! Sounds like an abundant life to me. Just what Christ came to give us.

So wake up! See everything God’s love does in your life. And start writing your own psalms, if not in black and white, then in your heart and mind and mouth.

Be at rest once more, oh my soul,
     for the Lord has been good to you.
For you, O Lord, have delivered
     my soul from death,
     my eyes from tears,
     my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before my Lord
     in the land of the living.

I am walking in the land of the living because He loves me. My cup overflows.

Amen.

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Scripture: Psalm 116:7-9 (NIV)

Agape

Warning: I may break my promise today. How is it possible to limit myself to one or two short paragraphs when writing about agape?

My Bible includes a word study section, giving definitions of a select list of Hebrew and Greek words prominent in the Scriptures. Here’s the definition of agape, the Greek word used most often for Christ’s love:

“The attitude or emotion of deep affection for another person, with a focus on loving action and not feelings alone.”

God’s love for us focuses on loving action! What if, instead, He were a god who merely sat on a celestial throne and regarded us with affection yet never came into our lives? 

What in your life has come from God’s loving action?  Where do you see His hand? How has He expressed His agape  to you?

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p.s. To correctly type agape, I need that little line above the “e”. Can anyone tell me how to do that?