Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law, (Psalm 119:18).

The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver (Psalm 119:72).

Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your law is truth (Psalm 119:142).

Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble (Psalm 119:165).

Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10).

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Galatians 5:14).

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself,” you do well (James 2:8).

The law of God’s government is the law of agape love, but what exactly is agape love? How does the Bible define this divine type of love?

Agape is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13, the famous chapter on love:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Does not act unbecomingly, it does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered. Keeps no accounts of evil. It does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth. Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Agape love bears up under anything and everything that comes. It is ever ready to believe the best of every person. Its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances and it endures everything with- out weakening. Agape love never fails, never fades out or becomes obsolete; it never comes to an end (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, taken from various versions).

What a beautiful description of God! He is so unique, so different from any- thing we’ve known! This passage tells us that God is patient and kind. He is not arrogant or rude or envious, does not insist on His own way and is not easily offended. He keeps no record of wrongs—this is vital in our understanding of God because we tend to think of Him as a stern judge looking down disapprovingly at us. God does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. He bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. His love never ends. These are the foundational truths about God.

These words tell us that divine love is not focused on self but on others. It is unconditional. It has no selfish agenda when doing “good” things to or for others. Agape love takes action for the betterment of others even if at one’s own expense, and even to the extent of dying for them. This is agape love.

These words also tell us that there is no boasting, no pride in God. This is significant, because He, of all beings, has the most glorious things of which to boast! Consider the universe, the earth and all its life forms… Anyone capable of dreaming, planning, and bringing to life such magnificent and intricate creatures would have every reason to boast. And yet, God is humble, not self- seeking but lovingly gives of Himself. We could say that He is self-sacrificing, but the term “self-sacrifice” implies acting out of duty rather than love, and could even encourage penance-oriented thinking. To Jesus, giving His life for us was not an act of self-sacrifice, but rather an act of willingly giving up everything in order to save us from an awful end; everything He gave us was given as a gift—offered out of love. To someone who puts others before him- self, giving is a natural impulse and not a sacrifice. To such a person, a sacrifice would be to take care of his own needs first, before others’.

Where else in the Bible is this type of love defined? The best example and definition of God’s love is Jesus Christ. True love, divine love, is revealed in His words, His life, and His death. Thus, we could use each of the above descriptive expressions from 1 Corinthians 13 to portray Jesus as well.

As we look back at His life we see that He was patient and kind. He was not jealous and did not boast. He was not arrogant or rude, did not insist in His own way and was not easily offended. Jesus kept no record of wrongs. He did not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoiced in the truth. He bore all things, believed all things, hoped all things and endured all things—even a death on the cross, the most painful and humiliating death. His love never, ever ended—not even while on the cross.

Jesus is not only the greatest but also the only living demonstration of agape love the world has ever seen. He is the visible expression of agape love. He lived to bless others; to give, to heal, to encourage, lift up, to empower, to renew, and to be their servant, doing good and never causing harm. What makes Jesus’ love most unique is that He did all this so that He could be with us. He did it “for the joy” of reuniting us with the heavenly family, so that we could spend an eternity together:

…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2, emphasis added).

Jesus’ teachings in The Sermon on the Mount are a revelation of the principles of God’s government of agape love. God had given the law to Moses on another Mount—Mount Sinai. Moses took that law and interpreted it through Satan’s stern, harsh, punishing, cruel and destructive sense of justice. Jesus goes back to the Mount, and gives us the law again—but this time the law is full of grace and truth.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).

The personification of the law, Jesus teaches us to love; He teaches us even to love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute us. If we love only those who please us, how different are we from the world’s type of love? Wasn’t Jesus defining unconditional love in these statements?

Notice why Jesus told us to love our enemies—“so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for HE makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:44, 45; emphasis added).Wasn’t Jesus redefining what love is by showing us God’s essence of unconditional, impartial agape love in those words?

First Corinthians thirteen ends by saying, “and now abide faith, hope, love, these three; the greatest of these is love.” Faith and hope mean nothing if they are not founded on the God of agape love. If our faith and hope are founded upon a god who is not agape love, they will crumble to pieces. If our faith is directed towards a god who is not “light in whom there is no darkness at all,” toward a god who has a divided character, then our faith is misdirected. We may call it “faith,” but because this faith is based on a false concept of God, it is a false faith. It is a faith directed toward a false god. The Bible actually calls this faith “unbelief.” The worship of false gods does not merely mean bowing down to a molten image:

In rejecting the truth, men reject its Author. In trampling upon the law of God, they deny the authority of the Law-giver. It is as easy to make an idol of false doctrines and theories as to fashion an idol of wood or stone. By misrepresenting the attributes of God, Satan leads men to conceive of Him in a false character. With many, a philosophical idol is enthroned in the place of Jehovah; while the living God, as He is revealed in His word, in Christ, and in the works of creation, is worshiped by but few. Thousands deify nature while they deny the God of nature. Though in a different form, idolatry exists in the Christian world today as verily as it existed among ancient Israel in the days of Elijah. The god of many professedly wise men, of philosophers, poets, politicians, journalists, the god of polished fashionable circles, of many colleges and universities, even of some theological institutions is little better than Baal, the sun-god of Phoenicia {DD 29.1, emphasis added}.

These are clear and direct words. There is no mincing here. In essence, if we don’t see the God that Jesus revealed, we are, in reality, worshipping Baal, the arbitrary, dual god of both beneficence and wrath. It is as simple as that. More than anything, the world needs Jesus’ revelation of God.

The Son of God declared in positive terms that the world was destitute of the knowledge of God; but this knowledge was of the highest value, and it was His own peculiar gift, the inestimable treasure which He brought into the world. In the exercise of His sovereign prerogative He imparted to His disciples the knowledge of the character of God, in order that they might communicate it to the world…. Everyone who believes the message of God should lift up Jesus, point men to Christ, and say, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”… {LHU 36.5, emphasis added}.

Both faith and hope find their realization in the God of agape love Jesus revealed to us. In and of themselves faith and hope are actually meaning- less. They are fulfilled only when directed at the true God as revealed by Christ, and when they are working through God’s agape love:

For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love (Galatians 5:5, 6, emphasis added).

When we have faith and hope in the true God of love as revealed by Jesus Christ, then we have true faith and true hope.

Take Saul’s experience for instance, before he became the apostle Paul. Paul became an example for us in many ways, and his life helps us to see the truth about God.

Before he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus Paul was a fervent follower of God. In fact, he was a Pharisee, and as such he was extremely well versed in the law. As a Pharisee, he was an ardent zealot to the point of persecuting those he believed were threatening the religious status quo. He even aided Stephen’s murderers while they stoned him to death:

Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul (Acts 7:58).

This is zeal. But it is misguided zeal. Note what Paul says after his conversion:

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 1:12-14, emphasis added).

Paul says that he “was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an inso- lent man.” What does he mean by “formerly?” He means that this is what he used to be before he met Jesus Christ on that road to Damascus, before he learned the agape love of God through Jesus.

Notice then what he says next: that all those things he did, blaspheming, persecuting and being insolent, all that was done “in unbelief.” Paul was acting in unbelief when he was a persecutor and an insolent man— one who insulted, maltreated, caused injury to others. In fact, the reason he was a blasphemer is that he was doing things in the name of God that were completely contrary to God’s character of agape love—things like persecuting and harming people. This is what made him a “blasphemer.”

But isn’t Paul redefining the word “unbelief ” here, and indirectly, redefining the word “belief ” as well? We know that unbelief is the opposite of faith. But if we look at Paul’s past, we see that he had a kind of faith, did he not? After all, he was a Pharisee, a strict adherent to God’s “law.” And he was persecuting people in the “name” of God; he was doing all this based on his “faith.” But his faith was not built upon the understanding that God is agape love. Thus his faith was useless and made him “miss the mark,” which by the way, is one of the biblical definitions of the word “sin.”

Missing the mark about God’s character is “the” sin—the most grievous sin there is. In fact, it is out of this sin that all sins are born, as we shall soon see.

In line with agape love, Jesus absolved Saul of all condemnation and guilt. In fact, He did not even accuse or condemn him for the cruel things he had been doing. Notice His way of dealing with the violent Saul:

“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:4-6).

How kindly and gently Jesus interacted with Saul; how tenderly and respectfully He engages with us. Rather than throw Saul’s guilt upon his face and expose his darkness, He appeals to his intellect and heart and asks: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” “Explain to me why you are so angry and violent against those that are following me? What harm have we done to you?”

Saul’s response reveals he did not know this God; his god was not like this. Rather, the god Saul worshipped was much more like the Greek deity Zeus—thunderbolts, fire and brimstone. “Who are You, Lord?” he asked. This was a new God—Saul had never experienced this gentle God before.

Something about Jesus caused Saul to immediately acknowledge Him as his Lord. Immediately he recognized that all his life he had been mistaken about God. And in that one moment of recognition, of repentance in the true sense of the word—metanoia, a change of mind—Saul surrendered himself to the true God of the universe. Trembling and astonished he said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”

Jesus’ grace toward Saul was “exceedingly abundant”—do you see the extent of God’s love here? This is because Christ, in agape love, keeps no record of wrongs. Is this the God we have been worshipping? Is this how we regard and treat each other, without accusation or holding of grudges?

Most of us know that Satan, through Adam, brought sin into the world and that Jesus, the “Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world.”

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12).

Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)!


If we understood the word “sin” in the context of “missing the mark” about God’s character, we would see that the sin Satan brought into the world was a distorted view of God—he made Him out to be a harsh, arbitrary killer. Jesus takes away the sin of the world—He removes this false view of God by revealing the true God of agape love.

This false view was the driving force behind Paul before he encountered Jesus. He missed the mark about the Creator, and as a result he was “a blasphemer, a persecutor and an insolent man.” But there was hope for Paul because he did it “ignorantly, in unbelief ”—not knowing the truth. Later, he writes in Hebrews:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

And in Corinthians he says that if faith isn’t working through love, it is nothing:

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2, emphasis added).

Faith is the substance, or the confidence, the assurance of something that is not yet seen—something that is still just a hope. Faith and hope are merely instruments through which we may grasp God’s love.

What do we hope for? A better life, a better world? Do we not hope for God’s love and light to peer through our pain and suffering? Could “things hoped for” be a world where love and peace reign? Aren’t the words “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10) the cry of every human heart that is yearning for love, peace, life and safety, waiting for God’s love to rescue a failing world?

The words “faith is the evidence of things not seen” do not refer to physical sight. The spiritual meaning of this passage becomes clearer when we read John’s words regarding Jesus:

No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him (John 1:18).

“No one has seen God at anytime,” suggests that no one had under- stood the character of the Father prior to Jesus. Why not? Because everyone in this world has only seen God through the lens of Satan’s lies; therefore, our view of God has been twisted. We have missed the mark.

This is precisely why God sent His Son into the world—to reveal to us the true God. Only Christ has ever “declared” the true God. What “no one has seen” and only Jesus “has declared” is the Father—a kind, loving, unconditional, impartial, humble, nonviolent God.

The only begotten Son came from the bosom of the Father and as such He is His express image. It wasn’t God’s physical appearance Jesus was declaring—it was His character. When He said “he who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9) He was saying, “Do you see who I am? This is what God is like.” Jesus is the visible and tangible revelation of God’s essence of agape love. He is the definition of agape love.

So when we see Him undoing the work of the Destroyer, healing all sorts of disease and illness, we see God. When we see Him indiscriminately for- giving sins (which to the Jews of His time was blasphemy, and yet those are the sins which Satan uses to accuse us before God day and night) we see God. When we see Him saying to the adulterous woman “neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8: 11), we see God. When we see Him day in and day out tirelessly working to heal, to uplift humanity from its abject hopelessness, working ceaselessly, in hunger and thirst, to bring us the unadulterated knowledge of the true God of love, we see God.

And when we see Him suffering, silently and humbly, in the face of horrifying insults, we see God. When we see Him unresisting as He is being ripped apart by the mob, spat upon, and shredded by physical and emotional wounds, and yet pronouncing blessings and forgiveness, we see God. When we see Him hanging on the cross, in relentless love, without one word of cursing or revenge, we see God. This is singleness of character. This is an undivided heart. This is a heart of pure agape love and nothing else.

Jesus is Emmanuel, “God with us.” He is the only true manifestation of God the world has ever seen. By looking at Him we see God. He is the only true way to understand God, the only true “light” about God, the only truth about the character of God. He IS God.