“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:6-8
God’s kind of love was demonstrated toward us, by Messiah Jesus dying for us while we were still sinners. Okay, we have been learning that our righteousness before God, is of God, it is of faith, it is not of Torah observance. Now we learn that not only did God make us righteous without Torah observance, He loved us before we ever knew anything about Him or Torah, or if we knew we did not care – we were sinners. We weren’t trying to live righteously or to live with Him in mind.
This word love is in Greek, agape. The Septuagint translators translated the Hebrew word aleph hey bet hey as agape. So doing some digging in lexicons and concordances, the Hebrew three- letter primitive root of that word, that contains its most essential and pure meaning, is ahab, aleph hey bet (Strong’s H157). The first time this word is used in Scripture is in the love story between Jacob and Rachel:
“And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him [but] a few days, for the love he had to her.” Gen 29:20
The love Jacob had for Rachel was the ahab, the agape that he had for her, which made seven years of servitude seem unto him as a few days.
We learned that Hebrew is a concrete pictoral language, in which God takes abstract concepts like love, and paints concrete pictoral parables with the letters that describe that word so that even five- year- olds can understand its meaning.
The Hebrew letters that form this root, ahab, the aleph hey bet, mean this: the aleph is an ox head, meaning strong, power, or leader. The hey is a man with his arms raised as if in worship. It means, to look, reveal, breath, or sigh. The bet is the tent floorplan, the house, household, or family. Ahab seems to be saying, to strongly long for your family with sighing. The hey, being the central character, is the heart of the Hebrew root, so the longing for with sighing is the heart of the verb. The aleph tells us how intense the longing is (it is the most intense form of longing) and the bet tells us what kind of longing it is – the kind that you reserve for your intimate family.
That is the concrete picture God paints of agape so that even five- year- olds can understand it. Now we can begin to understand the love God has for the sinner – the sinner is more to Him than just some random person. The sinner is to Him as a member of His intimate family. That is why the longing for him is so strong in God’s heart. That is why He, being the Supreme Creator and Ruler of the universe, was willing to put on flesh and dwell among us, and not only dwell among us, but be crucified for us, so that we, even if we were oblivious to Him, could now be in shalom with Him, dwelling in His house, in peace with Him (Rom 5:1).
So much to be thankful for!