The Greek word agape is usually translated as love in the new translations of the Bible, but the old King James version, as well as the Modern King James Version, translates it as charity.

Three-fourths of the time that the word love is used in the Bible, it is the Greek agape (or the verb, agapao). Three-fourths of the time! Agape is quite different from what we usually think of as love. Agape does not involve romantic attachments or sexual fulfillment. It is none of that! It is free from that kind of entanglement.

Agape is first and foremost an attitude, but it also results in action. That is why the King James Version translated it as charity. It is the kind of love that expresses itself in concern for others—but not mere concern. It is love-in-action. It is the kind of love expressed through generosity.

God’s people are generous people. Whether they are rich or poor makes no difference. Christians do not give to others in order to relieve their conscience, as some people do. Rather, Christians share their bounty, be it great or small, because God shares His bounty.

Charity has gotten a bad reputation in our day. It’s time we restore charity to its rightful place in Scripture and in the lives of Christians.

Living By Faith

What does it mean to live by faith? The phrase is one of the most important in all of Scripture. It first occurs in Habakuk 2:4. The Lord instructed Habakuk to write a vision about a time when “the just shall live by his faith.”

Later, in writing to the Romans (1:17), Paul said that such a time had come in Christ. Describing his own conversion, Paul affirmed the righteousness of faith when he said that he no longer lived, but Christ lived in him, and that he “lived by faith toward the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20), who loved him.

Now, “the Just shall live by faith. But if he draws back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.” But we are not of withdrawal to destruction, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:38-39)

Martin Luther discovered that God’s free grace is the key to the Scriptures. His discovery was made by reading Romans 1:17, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.'” The whole of the Protestant Reformation hangs on God’s free grace.

Christian faithfulness means walking by faith, living by faith. Living by faith means trusting that the Lord will provide.

Endeavoring to practice this precept, this ministry does not pay salaries or hire anyone to do ministry. We rely on Christian love—charity. Ours is a ministry of Christian love, of personal service to the Lord among friends of the Lord. You might say that this ministry is of the Lord, by the Lord, and for the Lord.

Walking by faith does not mean ignoring the material aspects of life. Walking by faith is not neglect of material responsibility. Walking by faith means trusting that the Lord will provide what is needed. Walking by faith is walking, not sitting. It is working, not loafing. It is working in order to share in the joy of giving. God is generous and God wants His people to be generous as well. That’s agape.

“…One of several Greek words meaning love. The word has been used in different ways by a variety of contemporary and ancient sources, including Biblical authors. Many have thought that this word represents divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, thoughtful love. Greek philosophers at the time of Plato and other ancient authors use the term to denote love of a spouse or family or affection for a particular activity, in contrast to philia, an affection that could either denote brotherhood or generally a non-sexual affection, or eros, an affection of a sexual nature, usually between two unequal partners, the lover (erastes) and beloved (eromenos). The term is rarely used in ancient manuscripts. The term was used by the early Christians to refer to the special love for God and God’s love for humanity, as well as the self-sacrificing love they believed all should have for each other.

Agape has been expounded on by many Christian writers in a specifically Christian context. In this Christian context, agape has been defined as an intentional response to promote well-being when responding to that which has generated ill-being…” Wikipedia

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