Pearls of the Word

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Filial love of God

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"For the Father Himself loves [phileo] you, because you have loved [phileo] me and have believed that I came out from God" (John 16:27).

The Greek verb phileo means to love with filial love, that is to say by kinship between parent and child. Whereas agape love of God is unconditional and for all men without exception (Jean 3:16), filial [phileo] love of the Father is conditional. It is because we love [phileo] His Son Jesus and because we believe He is the Son of God, that God the Father loves [phileo] us as His children.

We receive the Spirit of adoption that makes us call God "Father" (Romans 8:15). The agape love is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5), whereas philia love is the fruit of an intimate relationship with Jesus and God the Father. Our heavenly Father then makes us joint heirs with His Son because our inheritance comes from filial love.