Lately I have been thinking about a verse in 2 Peter chapter 1:7, “Add to your faith…godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection…Love for everyone“. What’s amazing to me is we can have “faith” and not have “Love” at least not the correct definition of Love. Jesus was trying to teach this to the young rich man who had everything and was even faithful in keeping Gods commands, but something was missing, “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” You may be saying, “Yea, but Jesus is talking to the rich, this does not include me.” We don’t have to have many posessions to demonstrate our “faith” by showing love to others, John the Baptist said, “Anyone that has two coats, give to those that have none, he that has meat (extra food) do the same.” Luke 3:11
James gives us a perfect definition of how our Faith is “dead” if we don’t have love, and is very clear in teaching us what that Love is:
“My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?
2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, 4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?…
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
The above verses in James is very clear that we as Christians can think we have “Faith” and that our faith is enough, yet it says our Faith is “dead and useless” without Love demonstrated to those in need.
Over 15 years ago Jesus spoke this to my husband Pastor Rick who had been a Pastor and Bible teach for years and he had him open his Bible to Matthew 25:31-46 and when he did, there were no markings or side notes anywhere in this chapter, and if you know pastors and teachers, they have footnotes everywhere! Jesus then said to him, “This is not a parable, this is not a story, this is going to happen one day…” and then he read Jesus words:
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
We say we believe? Then we must “add” to our Faith in Jesus: Love. Love connects with others. Love acts just as the Good Samaritan did when the man was found almost dead on the side of the road. Love gives a coat to those who have none, food to the hungry and water to those who are thirsty. Love makes our Faith alive! Are we saved by Grace? Yes! And the famous verses in Ephesians 2:8-10 are very clear in that once we received God’s grace we are then required to “add” Love by being rich in good works: “ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. (The following verse is rarely if ever taught, but is clear that God has called us to be rich in good works) 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Eph 2:8-10.
Grace & Faith: Add Love.
Pastor Nina Tidwell is Co-founder and Pastor with her husband Pastor Rick Tidwell of Ponce Church in Ponce Inlet. She is also founder/pastor of Ponce Church of St. Augustine. Their oldest son Pastor Rich Tidwell, founder/pastor of Ormond Church and Brandi Tidwell are founders and Directors of the Legacy Housing Project - Legacy House in Ormond Beach.