The word "charity" in The New Testament (KJV) is the English translation of the Greek word agápē which is a noun and means love and/or divine love. Agapáō is the verb form of that word and is usually translated as "love" in the New Testament. Agapétos is the adjective form of the word and is defined as "loved, beloved, with two special applications: the Beloved, a title of the Messiah (Christ); of converted believers, as beloved by God, Christ, and one another through God's power in Christ."
God is the only source of agape love ("God is love" 1 John 4:8b) and increases within us when we LOVE God back with all our heart and OBEY God with ALL our heart. When we love (agapé) God with all our heart that is loving ourselves and only then can we love our neighbors (everyone) as ourselves. ~Matt 22:34-40
The King James Bible translators suddenly began translating the word agapé as "charity" in the 14th chapter of Romans. Why, I don't know. But it breaks the uniformity of the word and can cause confusion.
"After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove [and] lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My Agapétos Son, in whom I am well-pleased." — Matthew 3:16, 17
Agápē is so important. And I'm not talking about "love" as the world calls it. That is mainly a cheap and distorted view of love. I'm talking about God's version of Agápē - love.
God is Agápē. Therefore Agápē - love is as deep and complex as God. Yet for us, this Agápē - love of God is also "simple". As its God Who opens our heart, mind and understanding to it. It starts off as a somewhat shallow understanding but can grow as long as we seek God with all our heart. And our understanding of Agápē - love expands as we grow in grace. Until "we are made perfect in Agápē - love." ~1 John 4:18
Greater Agápē has no man than this.. that he lay down his life for his friends, relatives, spouse, children, parents, neighbors and enemies (John 15:13; 1 Tim 5:8; Eph 5:22-33; Col 3:20, Eph 6:4; Ex 20:12; Eph 6:2; Gal 5:14; Lk 23:34, Rom 5:6-10, Eph 2:1-5, Jn 3:16).
"Agápē - love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore Agápē - love is the fulfillment of the law." ~Romans 13:10
"A new command I give you: Agapáō - love one another. As I have agapáō - loved you, so you must agapáō - love one another." ~John 13:34
"By this, Agápē is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment..." (1 John 4:17)
John is telling us this very special situation of boldness in the day of judgment is not automatic. By no means. We are commanded all throughout God's word that we are to strive (agonizomai) to enter into the strait (narrow) gate (door). ~Luke 13:24
If we just think about these verses it should dawn on us how powerful this word Agápē is.
And when you have time, study the 13th chapter of Corinthians again.
So when you see the word "love" (or sometimes "charity") in the Bible, that means loving God with all your heart and the RESULTING fruit of that action. Only Jesus can love the Father properly. And only Jesus joined to our spirit by the baptism in God's holy Spirit enables us to do the same.
We need to, A. Come to Christ. B. TAKE His yoke upon us and C. Learn of Him (Matthew 11:28-30). Through taking these steps we then enter into rest from our own works, our own will, thoughts and conduct. This is all God's doing, but we are agreeing with Him. That is the definition of "covenant"!
The Old and New Covenants both revolved around Agápē - LOVE. God's version of Agápē which is the most holy and just version.
This was verified through the Words of the Logos of God made flesh, the Anointed of God; " “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall Agapaō the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall Agapaō your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
May God the Father bless you all in Yeshua the Messiah! Please read my next message dealing with Agape - Love and how it extends to our brethren in the Lord and to the WORLD!
Yours in Yeshua, Thomas Richards
You can be saved!
God loves the people in the world so much that He came down to die for us. If God is opening your heart to His message and you feel convicted for your sins which have separated you from a holy God and you feel the need to be forgiven, then say this prayer. This is how I was powerfully converted to the Christ in 1997!
Say, "My Lord and my God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe Jesus the Christ died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. I believe Jesus raised from the dead and ascended into heaven and is now on the right-hand side of God listening to this prayer. I open up the door of my heart and I invite You in, Lord Jesus. Thank you, God, for saving my soul and I vow to serve you with all my heart which is the first and greatest commandment. Amen."