Agape Verses Phileo Love
by David J. Stewart
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." —Romans 5:8
If Jesus Loves Everyone, Then What's The Value Of Love?
Do you know who asked that question? Heavy rocker Marilyn Manson (real name: Brian Warner). Mr. Warner doesn't love God and has rejected God's love for Him in Christ; hence, Marilyn Manson only understands one type of love and that is the world's affectionate type of love.
We learn from the Bible that there are two different types of love mentioned in the New Testament. There is God's love (Greek: agape, meaning, “to love in a social or moral sense”), which is unconditional love; and then there is, (Greek: phileo, meaning, “to be a friend to, have affection”) which is a fondness type of love. We see both types of love at work in John 21:16 in a conversation between the Apostle Peter and the Lord Jesus Christ...
John 21:16, “He [Jesus] saith to him [Peter] again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest [agapao] thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love [phileo] thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
God loves [agapao] all mankind, which is why He sent His only begotten Son to pay everyone's sin debt. However, God has a special love [phileo] for His own, affectionate toward those who love and obey Him. It's the same way that we love as Christians. I love [agapao] all people, whoever you may be; but I have an affectionate love [phileo] for those dear to me, such as my web visitors.
Agape love is me loving you BECAUSE OF WHO I AM; whereas Phileo love is me loving others BECAUSE OF WHOM YOU ARE.
So we now understand the answer to Marilyn Manson's question. Mr. Warner only comprehends one type of love in the world, an affectionate type of love; but he is oblivious to God's unconditional love which can love a complete stranger, even someone who is being unkind to us, mistreating us, or who has hurt us. The unsaved world mocks, scoffs and despises true love, because they have rejected the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus the Lord. Thus, they cannot express love for a stranger when they are strangers themselves to the kingdom of God. Please read, God's Unconditional Love and God's Love In You.
You don't go to Heaven because God loves you, nor because you love Him. You don't go to Heaven because you amend your sinful ways or clean up your act. Turning over a new leaf is rehabilitation, which is not salvation. Education is not the answer. Reformation is not the answer. Legislation is not the answer. My friend, the answer is REGENERATION. Ye must be born again! We are saved by receiving Christ's payment for our sins. Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again 3-days later for our justification. Jesus applied His literal blood to the mercy seat in Heaven in the presence of the Father (Hebrews 9:12,24). Thank you Lord!
God's love [agapao] sent Christ to the cross to pay the sin debt of ALL MANKIND; but God is only a friend [phileo] to those who are His friends in Christ...
James 4:4, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
Calvinists have a hard time understanding how God can love wicked, Christ-rejecting, sinners. Many people misunderstand that there are two different types of love in the Bible; namely, agape and phileo. God agapes the world unconditionally, which sent Christ to the cross to die for men's sins; but God only phileos those who receive Christ and obey Him. Agape is a choice. I choose to love everyone. Phileo is a feeling, a fondness. I am fond of my loved ones. God does not phileo the wicked. But God unconditionally agapes the world. Phileo is conditional. Agape is unconditional.
God Loves Sinners!
God loves sinners! Now God certainly does NOT love sin, but He loves the individual. How could God not love His own creation? How could God not love the object of His plan of redemptive?
As I mentioned earlier, I've had many people write me letters, upset because I say that "God loves people." They send me verses in the Bible where God opened the ground to devour people, or killed thousands of people in His anger. Although God certainly did execute judgment in many places in the Old Testament, it does not in any way diminish the fact that God loved those people who were destroyed. Christ died for those people.
There are some false prophets who teach that Jesus only died for the elect and not the unsaved. This is certainly not Biblical. Jesus died for THE WHOLE WORLD, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1st John 2:2). Notice the words, "the whole world." Jesus died for the sins of "the whole world." Amen.
In Luke 9:54-56, we find James and John eager to destroy the wicked with the wrath of God, but Jesus rebuked them instead, "And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village." And likewise I say to you professed Christians who insist that God hates sinners... "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." In case you don't know, it is the spirit of Satan. Jesus came into this world to save sinners; not to hate them and destroy men's lives.
There are only two Scriptures in the New Testament where Jesus said "I hate" (Revelation 2:6 and 2:15). Revelation 2:6 states, "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate." And again in Revelation 2:15, "So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate." Jesus said that He hated the "deeds" of the Nicolaitans, and their "doctrine." Please notice that Jesus DIDN'T say He hated the Nicolaitans (a false cult). Jesus loves all sinners, not because they are sinners, but because they are people with souls whom He loves. John 3:16 tells us, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The “world” includes EVERYBODY, even a dirty, rotten, vile sinner like me.
Yes, I do take an uncompromising stand on my website against all types of wickedness, heresies, and sins; but I will never stop proclaiming the Biblical truth that God loves ALL people (no matter what they have done). That's not to say that God approves of their wickedness, it just means that God unconditionally loves people.
Even after being nailed to a cross, Jesus expressed forgiveness to the Roman soldiers who had stripped him naked, beat Him beyond recognition, placed a sharp crown of thorns upon His head, mocked Him, spit on Him and then nailed Him to a cross to bleed and die (Luke 23:34). Don't you tell me that God doesn't love sinners! There is no depth of sin known to man which can prevent the arm of God from saving the sinner who seeks forgiveness, "Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God..."
If Jesus would save a murderer like Saul (later to become the Apostle Paul), then he will save anybody! If Jesus would save a drunkard like Noah, then He will save anybody. If Jesus would save an adulterer like David, then He will save anybody. God will receive any repent sinner that comes to Jesus Christ for salvation (John 6:37). If you go to Hellfire (and you will if you don't get saved), it will be your own stubborn fault (Romans 1:20; Revelation 20:15).
What a tragedy that 95% of all the people in the world will one day burn in the Lake of Fire, forfeiting the free gift of eternal life which is already paid in full by Jesus' precious blood (1st Peter 1:18,19). Would you like to know for sure that if you died right now, that you would go to Heaven? You certainly can KNOW.
God's Simple Plan of Salvation
The Imputed Righteousness of Jesus Christ
Psalms 145:9, “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”