Do You Love God?Published Jun 01, 2018 |
In recent meetings at First Baptist Church in Columbia Falls, Montana, I was personally encouraged as I studied then taught about faith and love. Paul identifies these twin pillars of authentic Christianity (Colossians 1:4) as having faith in Christ Jesus and the love which ye have to all the saints. As we flesh out genuine Christianity, we should clearly understand that it is not enough simply to say we have faith, for there can be an orthodoxy which knows no love or real-world application. As believers, we must allow God to turn our belief into action. We can confidently believe and teach that there are fundamental confirmations of our faith in and love for God that will be strongly evidenced in our love to one another. While my list will not be all-encompassing, let's draw from First John as he presents this practical topic in his epistle—
Love is the MESSAGE heard from the beginning. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another (First John 3:11). And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment (First John 3:23).
Love is the TEST of light and darkness. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him (First John 2:10).
Love is the TEST of life and death. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death (First John 3:14).
Love EVIDENCES whether we are children of God or children of the devil. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever does not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother (First John 3:10). Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another (First John 4:7-11).
Love DEMONSTRATES our knowledge of God. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen (First John 4:20)?
Love AUTHENTICATES our love for and obedience to God. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments (First John 5:2).
We can't claim to be of God's family, unless our love extends to people. And always remember that the reason we are commanded to love one another is because it does not come naturally! Only as we yield to His Spirit can we acknowledge this perpetual unpaid debt. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another (Romans 13:8). So this is a two-sided concept: Not faith only, for without love it is orthodoxy. Not love only, for without authentic faith that love can become mere sentimentality. Faith in Christ and love to men are the twin pillars of the Christian life—and emphatically related to our day-by-day living.