Does God “phileo” love us? “God is love” speaks of his nature, that is His “agape” love, but can we be “starry- eyed” with God, as with our lover?
Yes, God does phileo His creation. The Greek word phileo refers to a “friendship love.” It is an emotional love. However, it is not a sexual love like the Greek word eros; nor does it refer to a brother-sister love like stereo. In most of the New Testament, we are told that God loves us with an agape love. While agape appears to lack emotion, it is the highest form of love, since agape is willing to die for another person. That is the reason Jesus Christ died for us, according to Romans 5:8. Someone can have a phileo love and agape love for a person. This person will have an emotional attachment for the other person and also be willing to die for him or her.
Does God have this type of love for us? The answer is found in Revelation 3:19.
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:19-20 (NASB)
The Greek word translated as “love” in Revelation 3:19 is phileo. Since God is speaking, we discover that those for whom He has an emotional attachment are also the ones He will reprove and discipline. Now the question is, “Who are these people?” The answer is found in Hebrews 12:8.
But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Hebrews 12:8 (NASB)
God is speaking in this passage. Here we discover that God will discipline every Christian – everyone who believes in Jesus Christ. So, if we combine both passages, we discover that God loves every believer with a friendship love.
In 1 Corinthians 16:22, we discover that every believer is supposed to have a friendship love for God.
If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha. 1 Corinthians 16:22 (NASB)
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