“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” – 1 John 4:10
The love of God is an atoning and substitutionary sacrifice, the cross of Jesus Christ. We call this love agape, but it is phileo (friendship) love too. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). The cross is also eros (marriage) love. “Christ … loved the church and gave himself for her,” so the Bridegroom died for his bride (Ephesians 5:25). See my article “The Love of God.”
The idea of a man giving his life, money, or reputation for the woman he loves is a romantic one. It fills the pages of many novels, written mostly by women. One of the best examples is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1817). See my article “Selfishness or Sacrifice.”
Yet romantic novels, films, and TV shows rarely spring to life in the lives of real people. Why? Few religions teach sacrifice, least of all for women. They’re used and abused instead, treated like sex objects or slaves. Some men refuse to marry, while others neglect or desert their families. Wanting sex without commitment, they shirk the lifelong responsibility required of a mature husband, father, and leader. No wonder some women hate men today! They know that these men don’t love them. See my articles “Marriage: Growing Up” and “Men Don’t Leave.”
Only God can model true love. He did so in the lives of Jacob, who served seven years for Rachel (Genesis 29:20); Boaz, who redeemed Ruth through marriage (Ruth 4:1-12); and Hosea, who redeemed his adulterous wife at a slave auction (Hosea 3:1-3). The final earthly revelation of God’s love came at Golgotha, or Calvary (John 19:30). The pure Lamb of God died for impure people, spiritual adulterers and fornicators. One day, Christ will bring all those who receive his love to the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7-9).
We have Jesus Christ as our model. Therefore, Christian circles should be filled with tales of sacrificial love. They aren’t. As I explained in my article “When a Man Loves a Woman,” men abuse women in most cults today – but in the name of Christ. This should not be! Where is the man who will show a woman Christian dignity by giving his life, money, and reputation for her? Where is the husband who will love his wife as he loves himself (Ephesians 5:25-28)?
This unbelieving world is desperate for real demonstrations of agape, phileo, and eros loves – of sacrifice. Let us repent of our selfishness and give it to them.