The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

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"Faith working through love"

Now, having seeing the above and before we continue with additional material, I would like to make a parenthesis here and say some things concerning love. I believe that this is necessary as the works of faith the New Testament refers to are works whose motivating force is love. Galatians 5:5 summarizes this excellently when it says:

Galatians 5:6
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

Here we have everything in one phrase: Faith, love, works! None of these can stand alone. Works without faith have no validity. Without benefit are also works not motivated by love. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3:

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing."

And then he moves on giving what exactly love does and what it does not:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. .. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

It is obvious that real love is not just a nice feeling.

Now as the works without love as motivator are without gain, so also love without works is not real love. As John tells us:

1 John 3:16-18
"By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."

Love is true love when it becomes action, when it is working, in deed and in truth.

Therefore we see that faith, works and love are not things that can really exist as stand alones separately from each other. Faith without works is dead tells us James (James 2:17) and works without love are without gain tells us Paul. Furthermore, love without works is not true love tells us John. What is then true faith? It is a faith that has it all. It is very plainly: "faith working through love".

Chapter 5: The Warnings of the Epistles


Author: Anastasios Kioulachoglou