Love Contrasted – Faith

Love and Faith Contrasted

“And though I have the gift of prophecy,
and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge;
and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,
and have not charity, I am nothing”
1 Corinthians 13:2

All the wonders and expressions of faith in God’s House, needful and precious as they are, if held and operated apart from the Love of God are empty. We have all seen great expressions of the gifts of God, be they healings, prophecies or ministrations of knowledge, fall through pride, greed, vanity and other sins. We ourselves may have been used of God to touch another life yet felt the transient value of the moment. God never intended that we find fulfillment in the “works of faith” as vital and necessary as they are. True fulfillment is found in our abiding in the power of His Love. The expressions of faith are given to bring God’s people to His End; they are not the end in themselves. Love is the enduring quality of God Himself. It is the eternal aspect of His Life; whether there be “prophecies, tongues, or knowledge” they shall cease (1 Corinthians 13:8) but it is the love of God which will abide forever. May we never confuse an expression of God as the approval of God within an individual’s life. The end of such thinking is filled with deception and ruin.

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail*; whether there be tongues, they shall cease*; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away*.”
1 Corinthians 13:8 (*Please see note below)

Jesus sent 70 of His disciples out with power to heal and cast out demons and they returned with great joy at the deeds accomplished. To which Jesus replied:

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven”
Luke 10:19-20

The content of one’s life is far more important than the expression of it. Moses, Jannes and Jambres all brought forth the same spiritual manifestation yet Jannes and Jambres were of a perverse and evil heart (Exodus 7:10-11). The expression itself is not the validation of a life before God. Rather it is the character, the motivation and the truth (authenticity) of God. Love is the only thing that bears weight in the scales of heaven.

John the Baptist performed no miracles. He was not finely dressed nor eloquent in speech yet Jesus declared of him “For I say unto you, among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” Our entrance into the Kingdom of God is not based on the spiritual manifestations in our lives; it is based on what we become within the character and dominion of His love.

“Except ye be converted, and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:3

Peter instructs us to add to our faith “virtue… to virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperance, to temperance endurance, to endurance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness LOVE.” He goes on to say… “for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” What solidifies our entrance into His Kingdom? The ongoing development of our faith into the fruit of the Spirit culminating in His Love.

Love is the fulfillment of God. It is the divine signature of God upon a life. It is the full purpose of God’s Glory in man.

“He that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love.”

We would be negligent and foolish to diminish the expressions of faith and the precious gifts of the Spirit of God. They are given to bring the Body of Christ to the maturity, the unity and the divine enablement to arise in purity and holiness. It is a sad testimony that many of God’s people do not see the need for every individual to receive the giftings of the Holy Spirit. Paul in his letter to the Church of God at Corinth implored them to:

“But covet earnestly the best gifts:
and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way…”
1 Corinthians 12:31

We are to covet and desire the gifts of the Spirit but also to walk in the more excellent way… the Way of Love. Love is more than an attribute. It is the Way of God and the Path of God in which we are to walk that we may please and honor Him in our lives.

“And though I have the gift of prophecy,
and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge;
and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,
and have not charity, I am nothing”

*Notes on 1 Corinthians 13:8

“but whether there be prophecies they shall fail” The Greek word translated “fail” here means to fade away or become of little use. For in the shining forth of the fullness of Christ there will be no need to “prophecy in part” (partially) 1 Corinthians 13:9-10. Prophecy is necessary and Paul sets forth the gift of Prophecy as a gift to greatly desire, yet we are to judge it and hold it in its proper place within the purposes of God.
“whether there be tongues, they shall cease” The Greek word translated “cease” here means to “stop or make an end”. When? When the fullness of Christ comes. These various gifts of the Spirit will remain in the earth until the perfect comes. Paul himself declared that he “spoke in tongues more than they all”. Surely if he knew and valued the necessity of this gift who are we to arrogantly decide that we are beyond such things. It is important to also note that not all who “received” the Holy Spirit spoke in tongues but that God has given these gifts “severally” to all. The Gifts of the Spirit are not optional; they are given because Christ has risen! (Ephesians 4:8)
“whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away” The Greek word translated “shall vanish away” is the same Greek word translated “fail” concerning prophecy. Why will knowledge cease? Because we shall SEE HIM as He is. There will be no need to teach others about Him for in the seeing of Him knowledge will be eclipsed by the reality of all that He is. Paul in his prayer for the Church at Ephesus prayed that they would “know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19) Love surpasses knowledge! Love will bring the heart to a knowing of God which is beyond teaching, knowledge and words; Love will bring us into the “Fullness of God” Himself. Why be content with anything else? The purpose of the New Covenant is to bring this to pass! The great prophecy concerning the New Covenant that God would bring is:

“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord…”
Jeremiah 31:33-34

Woe to any minister who shares with any motivation other than to see the people of God grow to surpass their own ministry. The True ministrations of God bring His people to the equality of brotherhood. It is religion that holds people to an inferior walk or place in God. Children must grow up and “leave their father and mother” to become mature men and women in God. Only when we truly love and respect our brothers and sisters, and see them as God does, will there be true unity in the Body of Christ.

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Love and Words Contrasted

Thought for Today

Love and Words Contrasted

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,
but have not love, I have become
a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal”
1 Corinthians 13:1

Eloquence and refinement of speech without the fire and love of God are nothing more than clatter. Words and quoting the noteworthy thoughts of others (though true) will not carry the weight and wonder of the original. Love alone is the power of God. Love cares, it sees, it feels the very thoughts of God concerning the lives of those around us. Love does not speak just to be heard; it speaks to bring men and women into their own vital relationship with God. It cares little about the opinion of others for it is fully immersed in the Will and Desire of God Himself. The great need in the Church of Jesus Christ today is people motivated and energized by the Love of God. It is Love that brings the weight of God’s Glory and the inspiration of His Life to this dark and lost world.

Words, apart from the Agape (Love) of God, are powerless and superficial; though they may speak OF God, God is not IN them.

“These are wells without water”
2 Peter 2:17

The pursuit of God is simply the pure desire to know Him. True Fellowship with others is the mutual desire and thirst to apprehend and participate in the Mystery of God Himself.

“The goal of our instruction is the love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith. Some having missed the mark and are turned aside to empty talk”
1 Timothy 1:5-6

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Words without Life
Come from Lives without Love

Brian Troxel