Many Christians define faith as belief which leads to many incorrect actions. If I have faith that I’ll become a unicorn, it’s not going to happen no matter how much I believe. So then, what is faith?
Faith has three parts to be real faith:
Knowing God’s Word + Having the Heart of God’s Word + Obeying God’s Word
- Knowing God’s Word – You must know the right data, which is only found in God’s Word, not in feelings or emotion.
- Having the Heart of God’s Word – You must trust in the correct data you found in God’s Word and it must change who you are.
- Obeying God’s Word – You must take the data found in Scripture and act upon it and obey it.
Practically speaking this is what that looks like in real life:
- Knowing the command – The study of God’s Word
- Having the heart of Christ while carrying out the command – Bearing the Fruit of the Spirit
- Know how to, and actually, carry out the command – Obedience in wisdom (seek wisdom from Scripture and others)
If you miss any one of the elements you are sinning:
Only have parts 1 & 3 – Legalism
You know the command, do not have the right heart and don’t want to do it, but you do it anyways. It’s like saying “I’m sorry” but not really meaning it.
Only have part 2 & 3 – Existentialism
You think you know God’s command but really don’t, you have a sincere heart, and act on that sincerity. This is doing your own will but calling it God’s.
Only have part 1 – Rebellion
You know God’s command, you don’t want to carry it out, and disobey.
SO HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO: “LOVE GOD. LOVE OTHERS. THAT’S IT.”?
- Loving God – Praise, thanks and obedience
KNOWING – In order to praise, give thanks and obey God, we need to know about him and what he wants though his Word. This means we need to be devoted to his word. And this means we must take seriously doing Bible studies, personal devotion, memorization, church and personal study.
HEART – We have to work on the fruit of the spirit and humility so our motives become more like Christ’s.
WISDOM – We need to seek wisdom and instruction about God from experts about God. You can do this through church, books, websites, apps. Just make sure who you are turning to is a trusted theologian who is Biblical.
- Loving Others – Meeting others’ spiritual and physical needs
KNOWING – We have to know the more specific verses about loving others found in Scripture. Verses about family, forgiving, showing love. This again is about the study of Scripture.
HEART – Because we are sinful and so are they, having the right heart is always hard. So it’s important to work on the fruit of the spirit in our relationships with others.
WISDOM – Meeting others spiritual needs means getting them the help they need and seeking instructions on how to give them that help. Meeting their physical needs means getting instruction on relationships, finances, health matters, career, etc.