out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8: 14–17). And he called Thessalonian believers “brethren beloved by the Lord” and referred to “our God and Father, who has loved us” ( 2 Th. 2: 13, 16). Thus John and Paul indicated that God, on the basis of His agapao love for believers, established a family relation- ship in which He is the Father and they are His children. Good parents have a special love for their children that is dif- ferent from the love they have for oth- ers. So, too, the apostles imply that God’s agapao love for believers is differ- ent from His philanthropia love for unsaved man. Believers belong to God’s family; unbelievers do not. Paul indicated that God loves not only Jewish believers but also Gentile believers so that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, . . . He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. . . . As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My peo- ple,’ there they shall be called sons of the living God” (Rom. 9: 23–26). The participle translated “beloved” is in the Greek perfect tense, which indicates that, once something takes place, it continues into the future. Thus, once Jews or Gentiles place their faith in Jesus Christ, they become objects of God’s agapao love and remain so forever. Paul’s concluding words to the church in Corinth were as follows: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen” ( 2 Cor. 13: 14). This was the apostle’s expression of wishes for this congrega- tion plagued with conflict and prob- lems. Some people associated with the church were living contrary to how they should have as believers. Since
ISRAEL MY GLORY
believers are special objects of God’s
agapao love, Paul’s expression “the love
of God be with you all” may have been
a wish that every person associated
with that church be a genuine believer
in Jesus Christ.
God’s Agapao Love
of a Cheerful Giver
In 2 Corinthians 9: 7 the apostle Paul
God’s Agapao Love
declared, “God loves a cheerful giver.”
Paul described a cheerful giver as one
who gives “as he purposes in his heart,
not grudgingly or of necessity.”
The word translated “purposes”
means “determine, decide, make up
8 concerning a situation
that involves more than one option. The
word translated “heart” refers to “the
center and source of the whole inner
life” involving thoughts, emotions, and
9 The word translated “grudg-
ingly” refers to “grief, sorrow, pain of
mind or spirit,” and in Paul’s statement
can mean “reluctantly.”
10 The word
translated “necessity” refers to “com-
pulsion of any kind, outer or inner.”
Paul’s description indicates that God
has agapao love for believers who give
gladly without coercion.
of Believers Whom
God also loves believers whom He
must chasten and scourge. Hebrews
12: 5–6 declares, “My son, do not
despise the chastening of the LORD,
nor be discouraged when you are
rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD
loves He chastens, and scourges
every son whom He receives.”
The words translated “chastening”
and “chastens” refer to corrective disci-
pline that may involve punishment.
word translated “rebuked” means “to
show someone his sin and to summon
him to repentance.”
13 The word translat-
ed “scourges” figuratively refers to “tor-
ment, suffering (sent by God to men).”
God does these things to His believing
children for their profit, that they may be
partakers of His holiness (Heb. 12: 10).
1 William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, eds./trans.,
“de,” A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and
Other Early Christian Literature, (1952: translation and
adaptation of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-Deutsches
Worterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments und
der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur, 4th ed.; Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1957), 170.
2 Ibid., “chrestotes,” 894.
3 Ibid., “philanthropia,” 866.
4 Ulrich Luck, “philanthropia,” Theological Dictionary of
the New Testament (hereafter cited as TDNT), ed.
Gerhard Friedrich, trans./ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley,
translated from Theologisches Worterbuch zum Neuen
Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974), 9:107.
5 Ibid., 111.
6 Arndt and Gingrich, “epiphaneia,” 304.
7 Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English
Language, 2nd ed., unabridged (Springfield, MA: G. &
C. Merriam, 1939), s.v. “revelation,” 2131.
8 Arndt and Gingrich, “proaireo,” 709.
9 Ibid., “kardia,” 404.
10 Ibid., “lupe,” 483.
11 Ibid., “anangke,” 52.
12 Ibid., “paideias, paideuo,” 608.
13 Friedrich Buchsel, “elengcho,” TDNT, ed. Gerhard
Kittel, trans./ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand
Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964), 2:474.
14 Arndt and Gingrich, “mastix,” 496.
Renald E. Showers is an author
for The Friends of Israel.
“God wants you to understand
the Word of God. The Bible is not a
mystery book. It’s not a book of
philosophy. It’s a book of truth that
explains the attitude and the heart
of almighty God.”
—Charles Stanley on the importance of Bible reading and prayer