Friday, July 8, 2011

Love For All

2 Peter 1:5-8

As a mother, I enjoy watching my children play with each other.  It is also interesting to watch how their relationships with each other change as they grow older and develop new preferences.  For the most part, they get along really well and enjoy each other's company.  Yes, my children are normal and they definitely have their moments of arguing, but when push comes to shove, they love each other and they would do what it takes to protect each other.  There is a bond that they have because they know each other better than anyone else knows them.  It creates fun conversation for the whole family (and they also know how to tease each other very well).  But our family also knows other people and has friendships outside the family unit.  God uses family for us to understand how our relationships within the church body and outside the church are meant to be.  Please look up 2 Peter 1:5-8.

I am focusing on verse 7 today, and I have to admit that I was unsure what the difference between "mutual affection" and "love" was.  When I looked it up in Greek, it helped me understand a little more of what Peter was writing.  "Mutual affection," in Greek is philadelphia, which means brotherly love.  This is the love that is shared in the family for one another.  Hebrews 13:1 says, "Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters."  It is a reminder that our love for one another as a body of believers is different because we are now family.  This doesn't mean that we will always have the same ideas about how things should be done because God in His infinite creativity made us all different, but it does mean that we can respect each other and care for each other.  When we see someone in our family struggling, we come together to help and lift that person up.  When someone in our family is rejoicing, we all rejoice with them.  We are family when and we have a bond with one another that the world does not share.

The Greek word that Peter used for love is agapē, which means affection, love, benevolence, brotherly love and good will.  This word doesn't necessarily signify that it is only focused toward the family of believers, in fact, I think that Peter was talking about a general love that we were to show everyone - family or not.  This is the same word for love that is used in Romans 5:8, "But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."  Ephesians 2:4-5 says, "But because of His great love for us God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even though we were dead in our transgressions.  It is by grace you have been saved."  1 Thessalonians 3:12 says, "And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows."  This love has been modeled for us through Christ and shows that it is for everyone.  While we are to have a loving bond as a family, we are to love everyone.  After all, God loved us even while we were sinners.  This is the same love that is defined in 1 Corinthians 13.

Are you showing love to one another and to the world?

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