May 20th 2009

Faith With Love

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love”
Galatians 5:6 (NIV)

Faith and love are two of the three great spiritual gifts. The other is hope. Both faith and love are based on hope. Of the three, love is the most important (1 Corinthians 13:13). Without faith, we cannot please God. Without love, we are nothing.

There is a Trinitarian aspect in 1 Corinthians 13:13:
“God is love” (1 John 4:8)
“Christ is our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1)
And faith is a gift of the Spirit ( Ephesians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 12:9)

Today we are living in potentially extremely difficult times. If the world economy does not recover from the present crisis, then we will see much social unrest and economic hardship. As Christians we will need a great deal of faith with love to live through such times.

The truth of the matter is that we cannot have one without the other. They go “hand in glove”, and, like the old song, “they go together like a horse and carriage”. In the grand scheme of things faith and love are of paramount importance. It is what really matters, “the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love”.

The Greek word for love in this verse is ‘agape’ meaning God’s unselfish or unconditional love. How does faith express itself through God’s unselfish (agape) love? Jesus, of course, is our best example. In the Book of Revelation, chapter 19 and verse 11, he is called “Faithful and True”. And He is the embodiment of love.

In the Bible, we are instructed to ‘live by faith’, ‘love one another’ and to ‘love our neighbour’. In doing so, faith will be expressing itself through love. These graces are gifts from our Father in heaven. We only need to ask him if we think that we are lacking in them. Ask and you will receive.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). Faith and love are good and perfect gifts from above.

Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (James 2:17). It expresses itself through love when we are patient and kind, when we do not envy or boast, are not proud, not rude, not self seeking, not easily angered, keep no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres; love never fails.

This is what really counts, ‘faith expressing itself through love’. This is what we need for the uncertain times in which we live.

Father in heaven, we thank you that as your children we can come boldly before the throne of grace and let all our requests be made known to you. Please grant to us the faith and love of Christ that we need for the times in which we live.

Study by Sherwin Scott

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