Faith Through Love

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I am studying in preparation for my sermon next Sunday… The title will be something like: You are Lovely and Your Father Dresses You Funny… My primary text is 1 John 4. John’s presentation of Love as the defining characteristic of a believer (for God is Love) is bracketed by a belief that Jesus came in the flesh (verses 1-3 of chapter 4) and that Jesus is the Christ in the first two verses of chapter 5. Our love for one another is tied to our faith.

Does it work the other way? Is our faith tied to our love? In other words does our faith, justifying faith, posses love? Here are a couple of quotes by two reformed guys looking at Galatians 5:6:“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love ”

Guess the two luminaries and cast your votes in the meta (No fair Googling)

Quote 1

We, again, refuse to admit that, in any case, faith can be separated from the Spirit of regeneration; but when the question comes to be in what manner we are justified, we then set aside all works.

With respect to the present passage, Paul enters into no dispute whether love cooperates with faith in justification; but, in order to avoid the appearance of representing Christians as idle and as resembling blocks of wood, he points out what are the true exercises of believers. When you are engaged in discussing the question of justification, beware of allowing any mention to be made of love or of works, but resolutely adhere to the exclusive particle.

Quote 2:

Faith has a concern in justification and salvation, not by way of causal influence, but as it is that grace which receives the righteousness of Christ, through which we are saved, and kept by the power of God unto salvation; yet not any sort of faith, but that which is operative, is attended with good works; and which works itself by love to God, to Christ, to his people, ways, worship, truths, and ordinances.

Which quote would you deem more helpful? Would either of these guys espouse a faith that is void of love? Does that fit with Scripture?

al sends

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4 Responses to “Faith Through Love”

  1. davidbryant Says:

    Hmmm.
    Number 1 could be Douglas Wilson. The block of wood comment seems just his style.
    Number 2 sounds like J.I. Packer.
    But then I’m probably wrong on both counts. Could they both be by … you, Al? (theology giant that you are)

  2. Al S Says:

    I am a midget, a theological little person. But you are wrong on both counts… think earlier. much earlier

    al sends

  3. davidbryant Says:

    Ok, number 1 is Calvin and number 2 is Mr. Ed the talking horse.
    Don’t leave us hanging. Who?

  4. Al S Says:

    I am not happy with my computer right now… issues, issues, issues…

    You are correct #1 is Calvin

    #2 is John Gill… later than Calvin but still dead and all.

    I thought it was interesting that it was Gill who took a more “active faith” position than Calvin. Calvin’s last sentence, “When you are engaged in discussing the question of justification, beware of allowing any mention to be made of love or of works, but resolutely adhere to the exclusive particle.”
    Seems a bit over the top to me. But I am not fit to carry Calvin’s theological spit cup so I should probably shut up.

    al sends

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