God’s Love, What a Powerful Impact It Makes
KEENE, TEX. – Years ago, Tina Turner sang a song entitled “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” in which her soulful voice belted out these iconic words: “What's love got to do, got to do with it?” The words of the song conclude with the simple, two-word question, “What’s love?” Writers and poets write about love, singers of almost all musical genres sing about it, church and culture talk a lot about it, yet our souls long to have answers to these two basic questions: What is love, and how does love impact life?
As Christ’s followers, we seek answers to life’s questions from Scripture. The Old Testament gives a powerful example of God’s love for His wayward people through the story of the Prophet Hosea’s love for Gomer. Even though Gomer had been unfaithful to Hosea, at the lowest point of her life, Hosea found her, saved her and brought her home. This story leaves us wondering how Gomer responded to Hosea’s love, which is the point of the story because in this story is a gentle invitation to accept God’s love.
The New Testament writers had three Greek words: eros, phileo and agape, to choose from when writing about God’s love. Simply put, eros has to do with romantic love, phileo has to do with friendship and agape has to do with unconditional love.
New Testament writers mostly used agape when speaking of God’s love. Agape is best understood as loving others even if we think they do not deserve our love, even if they disappoint us and even if they reject our love. Keep in mind, though, that agape was never intended to mean treating others with unfeeling kindness toward others that is prompted by a sense of duty, as R. E. O. White explains in the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Agape in the New Testament means a deep, unconditional love that is based upon and reflects God’s love.
The two major writers of the New Testament, John and Paul, say a lot about love. John 3:16 tells us that God’s motivation to save us is based on love. 1 John 4 expands on this love by challenging us to love others with the same love God has shown us. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul gives a detailed outline of what love is and is not, then he continues in 1 Corinthians 16:14 to challenge followers of Christ to evaluate their motives and to make sure that everything they do is prompted by love.
At the Last Supper, Jesus modeled love. The Master shocked His disciples when He took the role of a servant and washed their feet. Later, He told the disciples that the world would know His followers by their love. (John 13:34).
So, from a theological perspective, to answer Tina Turner’s question, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” Well, quite literally, everything! Our love for God motivates us to love unconditionally all those around us the way He loves us.
By Russ Laughlin
VP of Spiritual Development