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How can love and faith be differentiated?

What is love and what is faith?

Thanks for your question.

Love

The New Testament was written in Greek. The word translated ‘love’ (and in the Authorised Version sometimes ‘charity’) is ‘agape’.

‘Agape’ is not the kind of love which is emotional that we feel naturally for family and friends and those that we find ‘lovable’.

Rather it is an act of will whereby we seek the good of others, even those that we find impossible to like and those that we consider our enemies who actively seek our hurt. We love because Christ has commanded us to.

It is the essential characteristic of a Christian.

Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shaltlove thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The definition of this love is given by Paul to the Corinthians –16 characteristics in all

NIV 1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails.

Below is a collection of New Testament quotations on love.

Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shaltlove thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That yelove one another; as I have lovedyou, that ye also love one another.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he thatloveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a manlove me, he will keep my words: and my Father willlove him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

17 These things I command you, that ye loveone another.

John 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hastloved me may be in them, and I in them.

Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to loveone another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shaltlove thy neighbour as thyself.

1Corinthians 8:3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

1John 3:18 My little children, let us not lovein word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

23 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.

1John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that lovethis born of God, and knoweth God.

8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; forGod is love.

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

12 No man hath seen God at any time. If welove one another, God dwelleth in us, and hislove is perfected in us.

19 We love him, because he firstloved us.

20 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?

21 And this commandment have we from him, That he wholoveth God love his brother also.

1John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begatloveth him also that is begotten of him.

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

NIV 1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope andlove. But the greatest of these islove.

Faith

Faith in the Greek means the ‘conviction of the truth of something’.

It is not a blind faith where something is believed to be true despite the lack of evidence or, worse still, that which is believed isparadoxical.

In English ‘faith’ is a noun without a corresponding verb. The verb used in English is ‘believe’.

In English ‘faith’ and ‘believe’ do not carry the same shade of meaning that is apparent in the Greek.

In Greek ‘faith’ is ‘pistis’ and ‘believe’ is ‘pisteuo’, thus they have a close relationship.

Knowing the close relationship of the words in the Greek will help our understanding when ‘faith’ and ‘believe’ appear in the English translation.

Hebrews 11 is the chapter on faith.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

It is impossible to please God if we do not believe (have faith in) Him.

‘the substance of’’

If we think of ‘the substance’ being that which people ‘do’ because of what they believe then we have a handle on what follows.

4.Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice

5. Enoch pleased God. (Genesis 5:24 Enoch ‘walked with’ God)

7.Noah prepared an ark

8,9,10. Abraham left home and lived in tents (no fixed abode) in the land God has promised him for an eternal inheritance; prepared to wait for God to fulfil His promise.

17,18,19Abraham was prepared to sacrifice Isaac, because he believed (had faith) that God would raise him from the dead for God had promised that his descendants would come through Isaac.

22. Joseph believing the promise that God had made to Abraham (Genesis 15:13,14) that Israel would return into Canaan, made Israel promise to take his bones with them.

31. Rahab risked her life to hide the spies because she believed that God had promised to give Israel the land of Canaan (Joshua 2:9).

‘the evidence of’

What people ‘do’ because of what they believe, is ‘the evidence’ visible to others of their faith.

This is in line with what James says

James 2: 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works(of faith), when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect (Grk complete)?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Take a simple premise

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Being baptised is a work of faith

But

Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

And

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Being baptised is also then a commemoration of an act of love.

As is the breaking of bread and drinking of wine.

1Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord‘s death till he come.

Which was known as feast of love.

Jude 1:12 These are spots in your feasts of love...

It is regrettably possible to have faith without love.

1 Corinthians 13:2... though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.

All that we do must be in line with our faith.

Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Conclusion

We might conclude that faith consists of what we do because of what we believe and love is the principle which must govern all that we do.

1Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned(sincere):

I hope this helps

Glenn Smith

 
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