I Corinthians 13 has been referred to as perhaps the greatest chapter in the whole Word of God when it comes to putting into practice the greatness of the new birth and living the Mystery in a practical way. This chapter describes God’s love as manifested by the believer. It is beautifully set in the context of spiritual matters within the Church of God, sandwiched in between chapter 12, which expounds on the gifts and manifestations from God available to the believers, and chapter 14, which details the proper operation of the worship manifestations within the Church. I Corinthians 13 teaches how the manifestations of holy spirit (I Corinthians 12:7-10) and gift ministries (Ephesians 4:11) bless the operators in their usage and how to profit in our service toward God.
Some of the most specific and succinct details stated in the Word of God on manifesting God’s love are found in verses 4-7.
I Corinthians 13:4-7:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
The word “charity” in verse 4 is the Greek word agapē, which in this context refers to the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. This love is the believer’s response to God’s love, and it is love we manifest toward God and others by way of our renewed mind—by putting on the Word of God and acting accordingly. It is not natural or human love (represented by the Greek word philia), which can be manifested by any person; rather, it is divine love, or the love of God. Manifesting agapē love is possible only to those born again of God’s spirit. As children of God, we have the ability to manifest our Father’s love.
The characteristics of God’s love listed in these verses show us what the love of God looks like when it is manifested by the believer, and in future issues of The Way Magazine, we will be handling each characteristic in detail. For now, let’s focus on what this agapē love is and the immediate context of these verses of scripture. This focus will help us learn more about how operating the manifestations of holy spirit with the love of God profits us now and how manifesting God’s love will profit us in the future, for it never fails.
The word agapē has two usages in the Bible, and it’s important to understand the distinction. In Receiving the Holy Spirit Today, by Victor Paul Wierwille, we learn the following:
…From God’s vantage, agapē is a gift to man, and as such it is spiritual. The love of God in the inner man is from God at the time of the new birth, and must be clearly distinguished from, and not confused with, the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation….
When the word agapē is used in the Scriptures, sometimes it’s referring to God’s love for us—the love He gave us when we were born again. This usage is the love of God in the inner man, the spiritual ability to love as a result of receiving the gift of holy spirit. Other times agapē refers to the love of God as manifested by believers as they renew their minds. This “active” love of God can be manifested toward God and toward others.
The love of God in the inner man is described in Romans 5, where we learn that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts when we are born again of God’s spirit.
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love [agapē] of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost [pneuma hagion, holy spirit] which is given unto us.
At the moment we received salvation by confessing Jesus as lord and believing that God raised him from the dead, we also received God’s gift of holy spirit. And with that gift, we received the love of God Himself. The love of God is shed abroad, poured out, distributed largely, in our hearts by holy spirit. We didn’t receive just a drip of God’s love. It is shed abroad in our hearts. We have God’s nature of love in us, for we are “partakers of the divine nature.”
II Peter 1:4:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature….
We have God’s love in us spiritually, His love nature. We can’t feel, smell, taste, or touch this love nature, but God’s Word tells us we have it.
Now, when we renew our minds according to God’s Word, by walking in the light as God is in the light (I John 1:7), then that love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts is manifested in the world. It becomes the “active” love of God. This is the usage of agapē throughout I Corinthians 13—the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation….
This is an excerpt from the January/February 2016 issue of The Way Magazine.
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