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Love is the most genuine expression of faith | Worship

 

Last updated 3/22/2017 at Noon



Most of us have heard many times throughout our lives about how important it is to have faith in Christ, and for those of us who do have faith in Him as the Savior, we know that He calls us to express that faith to others.

However, do we really know what a genuine expression of faith in Him looks like? It’s important to know so that we can measure our expression to His expression.

Also, if someone else claims to be speaking or acting in Jesus’ name, we can recognize if this expression truly represents Him or not. There have been far too many people who have done or said things in the name of Jesus but have completely misrepresented His heart, and they do harm to the cause of Christ.

For instance, we’ve probably all seen news headlines that have highlighted certain church groups that regularly protest at funerals where military or gay people have died, holding up signs that say extremely hurtful and insensitive things that I don’t care to repeat. I’m not the judge of whether these people’s faith in Christ is genuine or not, but I can judge whether their expression of faith genuinely represents the heart of Christ to others based on what the Scriptures reveal about Him.

In my 35 years of studying the Scriptures and the life of Christ, I think it’s safe to say that these kinds of harmful expressions – ones that lack any sensitivity to grieving family and friends who have lost a loved one, and that paint God in the image of some angry authoritarian in the sky who is looking for any excuse to unleash His wrath on mankind – are a complete misrepresentation of who He is.

These are not genuine, biblical expressions of the Christian faith. It grieves my heart that many people’s opinion of Jesus is formed by these misrepresentations and misguided expressions.

The Bible reveals to us a much different Jesus. The Bible reveals to us a Jesus who came to the defense of an adulterous woman when the religious community picked up stones to stone her to death, and, one by one, they dropped their stones and walked away. He then said to her, “Where are your accusers? Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.”

It also reveals to us a compassionate Jesus who joined with the grieving family of Lazarus in weeping at his funeral, even though He knew that moments later He would raise him from the dead. Once again, the Bible reveals to us a Jesus who said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” when his scoffers hurled insults at Him as He hung on the cross dying for the sins of humanity.

Finally, the Scriptures reveal to us a Jesus who sums up the whole Law of God by pointing out that God doesn’t require or even desire religious ritualism or good works in order to maybe, hopefully, if we’re good enough, somehow earn His favor, but rather to simply “believe in the one whom He has sent” (John 6:29), referring to Himself as the Messiah, and to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).

In Galatians 5:6, the Apostle Paul goes on to emphasize what genuine faith in Christ is all about as he says, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision (religious ritual) nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” Right there in those four words faith’s greatest expression is summed up – “faith working through love.”

Faith’s greatest expression is to follow Jesus out of love, not out of compulsion. It’s to willingly and lovingly place Him in the position of authority in our lives and to lovingly give Him our all, because He lovingly gave His all to us by dying for our sins. It’s to express our faith in Him to others by extending the same grace, love and compassion that He extends to us.

May faith’s greatest expression, faith working through love, be seen more and more in our world today, and may it begin with us.

Jeff Dutra is the lead pastor for Mukilteo Foursquare Church. For more information about the Foursquare church, go to http://www.mukilteofoursquare.org.

 

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