Faith And Love
By Zakaria Ibrahim
St. Paul defined faith and stated in (Heb. 11:01) ‘faith is assurance of things hoped for, and conviction of things not seen’. His definition has two parts, each complements the other.
The first part ‘hoped for’ reflects certainty in guaranteeing the occurrence of betterment for the human soul as stated in the gospel promises. Contrary to man's earthly demands for health, wealth, and authority, which are uncertain, decaying, and temporal, hoped for is spiritual, eternal and guaranteed because of God's infinite love for human beings. Recognizing God's love is the key that opens hope for all Christians as stated in (Jn. 3:16) ‘for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life’. Faith here is the appreciation and digestion of the unconditional God's immeasurable love for man, good or bad. Relative to the comprehension of the man who is finite, temporal, and has limited capacity of understanding, it is difficult to conceive the immense infinite God love except through Faith. This difficulty resulted when humanity had lost their capacity to love after Adam and Eve disobeyed God and were separated from him, who is the one and only source of love (1st Jn 4:08, God is love). True love is from God where man could acquire it by putting on Christ and through Jesus Christ love is emanated from him to others.
Therefore, only through the Holy Spirit, hope is replanted in the redeemed Christians and the capacity to love is re-energized. Jesus said (Jn.14:15) ‘If you love me, keep my commandments’ and in this way the man would be capable to yield love again. Jesus simplifies the commandments by rekindling the Old Testament ordinances in (Lk.10:27) ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself’. The two commandments ‘love God and love neighbor, is in fact one commandment, because if you truly love God, loving your neighbor would take place automatically. This is because your neighbors are reflections of God's image, and including all other living creatures together with cosmic galaxies that glorifies his handy work. Therefore, how human beings could proclaim that he truly loves God without falling into the superficiality and self-hypocrisy. Let us examine ourselves, 1) does our love for Jesus Christ continuously occupy our hearts, souls, and minds? 2) is this love free from, routine ritualistic worshiping, repeated recitation of religious words and songs without feeling, or imitating good duties to practice as if they are possessing magic spells? 3) is this love free from wanting for ourselves, security from fear of Satanic influence, protection from doubts and anxiety of the unknown, or showoff self-glorified propaganda through joining one of the anti-groups do goodies? On the opposite, how to declare faith without works, as St James stated in (Jm.2:14) ‘show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works’. The response is love should be exclusively the one and only motivating, driving force for work that is emanating from faith. Here is the contrast, demons believe and tremble (Jm.2:19) because their faith are hate embedded, but faith in Jesus Christ, by the believers have love replanted in them.
The second part ‘Conviction of things not seen’, reflects the confident certainty of the believer’s faith that at general resurrection, his glorified body would be united with Jesus Christ. The finite (soul in new glorified body) shall joyfully experience the gracefulness of the infinite (God) for eternity. Currently, if the living soul that is trapped in the mortal body is able through the Holy Spirit to search (examine) all the deep things of God (1Cor.2:10), the liberated soul in the glorified body shall enjoy the pleasurable enlightenment of the eternal, infinite, magnificent splendors of God that cannot be exhausted. If the substantiated harmonious beauty of nature, the fascinating biological building blocks of the DNA, the expanding universe synchronized motion, and the meticulous atom internal orbits, that God had made, are so marvelous, how dazzling and magnificent would the splendors of God that made and fashioned them. In addition, the redeemed humanity would joyfully experience all the other created beings that are not seen after resurrection. This is because after resurrection, the aspirations of Faith and Hope would be accomplished and transformed into living reality, and only love shall remain through eternity. This is why the first epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (13:13) stated ‘now abide Faith, Hope, and Love, these three; and the greatest of these is love’, because love is the intrinsic distinction of God.