Agape

As stated in the previous post, agape love is the sort that is emphasized in Scripture. It can be described as self-sacrificial love and others outside of the Bible often refer to it as willful or mindful love (as it requires an act of the will). Just as before, it doesn’t matter what we ultimately call it. The point is that it is the sort of love God emphasizes and models throughout the Scriptures.

Even in the various “forms” or “types” love can come in or be expressed, the Scriptures point toward the Agape form of love. Christ did this on the cross, giving up His own life to pay the penalty for our sins that we rightfully deserved. He calls all those who would follow Him to “take up their cross” and follow His example in every element of their lives. In other words, Christians are to live out Agape love in all that they do.

This includes in marriage. From the Greek, we often think of the word Eros for the erotic and intimate love expressed by a couple. However, this type in itself is deficient without Agape. Why? Because Eros alone, despite it finding joy in the beauty of the body, all too easily leads to an idolatry of the body as well as a self-seeking for one’s own pleasure derived therein. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the intimacy that comes with the married bed. In fact, God wants us to enjoy it. Even so, we must remember to be self-sacrificial in our love in marriage (whether in the bedroom or in daily activities).

A specific example of this is aimed particularly at husbands in Ephesians 5:28

“In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

And to give a little more context: (v 25-30)

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of His body.”

It is mindful, it does require work, and (most importantly) it is what we are called to bring to our actions as Christians.

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