Universal Salvation: Love Part Two
What, then, is this Godly agape love that can not fail to do anything? Anything, that is, within the realms of righteousness.
1 John 4:8 has this to say: "He who does not love (agapon, from agapao) does not know God, for God is love (agape)."
The Greek verb is agapao, and the noun is agape. If I were to ask you if you knew what these words meant, thousands of you would say, "Of course we do". But that does not mean that you have a full understanding of these words. You know what the dictionaries say they mean, but the dictionary definitions do not help a lot in bringing out the full understanding of these words.
The fact that God is love (agape) - He does not just have love, but is love - shows the greatness of this Godly love.
Have you ever read the great words of King David at 1 Chronicles 29:10-13? "10 Therefore David blessed the LORD (YHWH) before all the assembly; and David said: 'Blessed are You, LORD (YHWH) God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O LORD (YHWH), is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD (YHWH), And You are exalted as head over all. 12 Both riches and honour come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. 13 Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name.' "
Look at verse 11: "Yours, O LORD, (YHWH), is the greatness…"
Now, it stands to common sense that if God is great, and God is love (agape), then Godly love (agape) is great also. Because God is love (agape), Godly love is also God. So verse 13 tells us something else about agape love.
Verse 13 says: "Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name."
At 1 Chronicles 29:10-13, King David told us four times that God's name is YHWH, which, when put into a larger picture, means that God can cause to come about whatever He wants to bring about: once again, within the realms of righteousness.
What does God want to bring about? And, therefore, what will love (agape) bring about?
Verse 12 tells us very clearly. It says: "Both riches and honour come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all."
Can you see? It is within God's hand to make great.
"But that does not mean that He will make everyone great, does it?"
Of course it does: can you remember what God Himself said, at Genesis 1:26? "… Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…".
The final result of man has to be Godly perfection, or God has failed. And failure is not an option for God.
1 Corinthians 13:8 gives us the answer: " Love (agape) never fails…"
Have you ever thought, that if God can cause to come about whatever He wants, and all are not brought to Universal Salvation when they could have been, then that must have been what God premeditatedly wanted? Not what He could do, but what He personally premeditatedly wanted to do. Not to save someone's life when you could have done so, to let someone die just because that is what you wanted, is sick. God has to work within the confines of perfection and agape love. He can not do just what He wants; He has to do, once again, on every single occasion, what is right - no choice.
"But God can do anything, can He not?"
No, He can not. He can only do anything within the realms of righteousness.
For instance, Titus 1:2 says: " …God, who cannot lie…"
It is absolutely impossible for God to tell a lie. Therefore any plans in the beginning that God wanted to bring about, were governed by what righteousness allowed Him to do. Which is what God would have wanted in the first place, because God is righteous.
Deuteronomy 32:4 has this to say about God: "He is the Rock, His work is Perfect; For all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He."
And since God is agape love, then Godly agape love must incorporate all of these qualities. He has to serve you with all of these qualities. And so does Jesus, and so does the Holy Spirit. These qualities are God's ministry to everyone.
Let us take a look at 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, which has this to say about Godly agape love: "1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails…"
God is all of these qualities; and, once again, He has to serve you with them. These qualities are God's ministry to everyone. He has to serve everyone with agape love. Or did you think that you were going to do it?
You can not be saved by your works, however godly you think you are. You are going to be saved by His grace.
So a fuller understanding of Godly agape love, is ministry. Or have you never thought of God as having a ministry to you? Do you just think you have to do it, and not God? That would be stupid, because you can not do what God can do.
The fruit of the Spirit is His ministry to you, also. Galatians 5:22,23 says: "22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, (agape) joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness (see our ministry school article "Kindness"), goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control…"
There is no getting away from it: God has to serve and minister all of these to everyone, including Satan and the demons.
Yes, He must.
"But Satan is a sworn enemy of God."
Absolutely. But He can not tell us to do one thing, and then do another Himself. Just look at what Jesus said at Matthew 5:43-48: "43 You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love (agapeseis, from agapao) your neighbour and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love (agapate, from agapao) your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love (agapesete, from agapao) those who love (agapontas, from agapao) you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
Can you see what verse 44 says? "But I say to you, love (agapate, from agapao) your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,"
Jesus said to love your enemies.
You can see the problem that God has (although it is not a problem to God), can you not? He can not tell us to love (agapao) our enemies, and not do it Himself. He has to love (agapao) Satan.
God's ministry of agape love cries out to the believer: "I will not let you down."
It also cries out to His enemies: " I will not let you down, either."
So a fuller understanding of Godly agape love incorporates service and ministry.
If you really understand what agape love means, you cannot possibly believe in anything other than Universal Salvation. God can not possibly work outside of Godly agape love. God is love (agape) - and nothing less.
Be sure to read next month's article: "Universal Salvation! Grace Part One".
Next article: Grace Part One