Waiting in Love
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
In English, the singular word “love” is applied in a variety of different uses, and it requires the discernment of the hearer to understand the differences. One person might claim to have affection for chocolate, soccer, autumn, cherished pets, old friends, grandchildren and one’s spouse with the same word. The Scriptures uses multiple words for love and that is far more helpful for us to see that God’s love for us is different than our love for a particular food or activity.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word Chesed is translated as steadfast love, mercy, kindness and/or goodness. The classic description of God in the Old Testament, first found in Exodus 34:6 helps us to see God in terms of his grace, mercy and love. It is recalled in Joel 2:12-13, the traditional Old Testament text for Ash Wednesday when those who are called to return to God in repentance and faith are assured that they will find a God who abounds in steadfast love.
In the New Testament, the Greek word Agape is translated as love, but is understood as God’s perfect love for us. God’s love for us in Christ is both unconditional and sacrificial. John’s first epistle reminds us that love is understood through the cross and Christ’s self-giving action of dying as the propitiation for our sins. God’s love for us is not a fleeting emotion, but leads to His saving work of Christ.
During this Advent season of waiting, we are strengthened because God demonstrated His love for us because Christ died for sinners such as we are. As we look forward to the celebration of our Savior’s birth and His coming again in glory, we are ultimately looking forward to love incarnate, the God who became flesh for us and who accomplished His saving work so that we may be in His presence for all eternity. During this Advent season, may you be blessed as you marvel over God’s chesed, His agape, His love for you in Jesus Christ!
Prayer - Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of your only Son, so that by his coming we may worship you with pure minds; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan