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The greatest virtue of the Christian life is love. The use of agape (love) was rare in pagan Greek literature, doubtless because the concept it represented—unselfish, self-giving, willful devotion—was so uncommon in that culture it was even ridiculed and despised as a sign of weakness. But in the New Testament it is proclaimed as the supreme virtue, the virtue under which all others are subsumed. Agape love centers on the needs and welfare of the one loved and will pay whatever personal price is necessary to meet those needs and foster that welfare.

God Himself "is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him" (1 John 4:16). Jesus made unequivocally clear that in both the Old and New Testaments the two greatest commandments are: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt. 22:37--39). In fact, He went on to say, "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets" (v. 40). Echoing that same truth, Paul later admonishes in his letter to Rome, "Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law" (13:8; cf. v. 10)...

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