The value of right beliefs
I believe that the whole substance of the Christian Life is best summed up by these two principles: 1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, And, 2) love your neighbor as yourself. Every commandment in the Bible stands on the foundation of these two principles. This is not simply my opinion. Jesus himself stated in Matthew 22 that all of the law and prophets hang on these two commandments. If we miss these twin truths, then absolutely NOTHING else in our life will be right in the eyes of God. In saying all this, let us realize that we must accept these two commandments from God as our personal responsibility. They should be sincerely held beliefs in the heart of every believer.
Probably nothing written up to this point is controversial with almost any professing Christian. Almost anyone who claims any commitment to God would wholeheartedly affirm the first paragraph of this post. It is not that we fail to understand and believe God’s word, but many times that we fail to practice it.
The worthlessness of these beliefs if not paired with action
Since, as Christians we accept the Word of God as the ultimate authority and source of all doctrine, there has historically been a basic understanding and affirmation of certain universal beliefs. The above-mentioned principles of love for God and love for those created in God’s image would be accepted by almost any body of professing believers.
The tragedy, however, is evident when we begin to look for the evidence of these professed beliefs. Is it necessary that there would be an outward demonstration of this professed love? Let us look to scripture for the answer. After the resurrection of Christ, there is a discourse between Peter and the Savior in John 21:14-22. During this discussion Jesus inquires of Peter’s love for him, to which Peter replies in the affirmative. After repeating this discourse for the second and third time, Jesus brings the discussion to a head with a command. He demands that Peter, who has previously been prideful and self-serving, take on the heart of a shepherd and care for others. He then refers to the ultimate sacrifice that Peter will have to make. Peter will be called upon to seal his profession of love for Christ by giving His life for the Gospel.
What does this have to do with our discussion? Notice that Peter’s declared love for the Savior is not enough, but there must be an outward demonstration of obedience and sacrifice that is a result of the love for God he has in his heart.
The whole package
To summarize the discussion let us examine ourselves, our hearts, and actions. Are we grounded in the truth of God’s word? Can we dwell on God’s commands to love our Creator and to love others to the point that it motivates us to action? If we know and understand God’s word and commands, but it has no effect on our actions, then our understanding is not only worthless, but it will become condemnation to us!
When we fail to love God enough to forsake idolatry and sin, then we sin against God. What about when we fail to love others enough to make an effort to demonstrate God’s love for them? We do this by caring for their well-being, and most importantly, taking them the Gospel, the most important message in history. What good is our professed love for the others if we sit idly while so many live without God’s fellowship and die without receiving his forgiveness? Opportunities abound to allow God’s love to be demonstrated in our lives. Please pray for this ministry as we try to be a channel for God’s love to flow through and touch the lives of others!