Faith, like love, can be very relative, particularly in the 21st century.
You can have faith that a person will do what they promised. Faith in a certain outcome. Faith for a specific event, situation or circumstance. Or even faith that the weather will turn out as forecasted so you are able to enjoy your tropical vacation.
Likewise, you can love your dog, love your spouse, or love Oreo cheesecake. You may claim to love all of these things but the capacity to which you express love varies depending on the subject. [For a deeper dive into biblical love, read Love is Love.]
While the concepts of faith and love are used by both secular and Christian individuals, they can take on totally different meanings depending on what they’re being related to. If you seek to understand and apply faith and love [as they were initially intended to be used], then one must consider the biblical connotations.
One of the best ways to describe faith is seen in Hebrews 11:1 – “Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.” (CEV)
The ultimate portrayal of love is seen in the unconditional love of the Heavenly Father sending His one and only son to Earth (John 3:16), as a human who was both tempted and yet never sinned (Hebrews 4:15), to be sacrificed to redeem the sins of a broken humanity (Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:9-10).
In their original design, faith and love are anything but conditional. Both are foundational for spiritual freedom, reconciliation, restoration, and sanctification.
Because of sin, humans deserved an eternity of bondage and separation from God…
”But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that He made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and He has given us a place beside Christ in heaven. God did this so that in the future world He could show how truly good and kind He is to us because of what Christ Jesus has done. You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. It isn’t something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about. God planned for us to do good things and to live as He has always wanted us to live. That’s why He sent Christ to make us what we are.”Ephesians 2:4-10 (CEV)
True, biblical faith and love are being tested daily in the 21st century and too often Christians are choosing to be tossed in the wind of cultural acceptance rather than standing on the solid ground of theological truth (Ephesians 4:14-15).
Paul, in his second letter to Timothy, encouraged Timothy to have an unwavering faith and to use the gift of God’s Spirit dwelling within him because the Spirit provides humans with courage, power, love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7) The world Timothy and Paul were living in was not much different than the one you and I are living in today. Yet, Paul, in his imprisonment [for sharing the Gospel], urged Timothy to not be ashamed of the Lord and the Gospel message that speaks life in a world that is full of death.
We will suffer in this world, but the message Jesus lived and died for is worth any temporary persecution (John 16:33). We must remember, this world is our rental, not our home. True, biblical faith must be active and intentional in trusting the sovereign God right now, today, in this world, as you wait in hopeful anticipation of the world that is to come.
The sad thing is, the sin of this world is robbing humans of the life they were created to experience. What’s worse – those who hold the treasure of life-freeing truth would rather lock it away for themselves than give it away in selfless love.
Oh, friend. This world desperately needs the Gospel! It is the source of light and love and the key to achieve unity and peace.
You, follower of Christ, bear the image of God. His Spirit lives within you. His son goes before you.
You have all of the tools you need to accomplish the job that needs to be done. You were made for this. Don’t let anyone fool you that you were not.
Carry your cross daily and drench yourself in the aroma of God’s goodness, glory and grace. Now is not the time to shrink back in fear, nor the time to silence your voice. You have been entrusted with a gift and it is the only gift that keeps on giving.
So share it.
Now. Forever. Always.
Trust in the Lord. He has entrusted you with an inheritance that grows richer with each heir you bring to His Kingdom.
“Guard [with greatest care] and keep unchanged, the treasure [that precious truth] which has been entrusted to you [that is, the good news about salvation through personal faith in Christ Jesus], through [the help of] the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.”2 Timothy 1:14 (AMP)