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SUMMARY: Importance and meaning of Christian faith, hope and love
i.Faith is not perception
Perception is fixed in time and space, and lets the individual put trust or confidence in someone or something, based on information, experiences, environment and sensations of reality. Perception as a human concept may be fine to explain the world and our survival within it; perception lacks the crucial element that separates it from faith.
For a Christian, faith is always God’s work (1 Cor 12:1-11). The crucial difference between human perception and the faith for the Christian is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us to believe in the unseen (1 Pet 1:8) the intangible (1 Cor 2:9) and most importantly, to understand the things from God (1 Cor 2:12-14).
These are the kinds of challenges and false teachings churches face where church-goers are told that faith is nothing but percption.
By this faith, we transcend the intellect, material or physical things. Only faith can help us understand the truth that Christ dwells in our heats through faith (Eph 3:17); or that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are one. Church Leader Pearls strongly contends that perception cannot help us understand these mysteries. Perception cannot receive or even know, the things of the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:10). Faith is not perception.
ii.Hope is not instant and self-centered
Hope, as a common human trait is the expectancy that good things will happen. It usually involves us using the skills and abilities we possess, to obtain the best possible outcome in uncertain situations, both now and in the future.
For the Christian, the Holy Spirit implants in the believer, hope from God (Rom 15:13). In our daily prayers, we exercise this hope for our physical, mental, spiritual and relational well-being (Matt 6:9-13). Hope is about waiting; and we wait in faith and hope on God’s answers and promises, despite the tests and trials. Church Leader Pearls contends for this kind of hope.
Our hope always must be that God will manifest his glory in the return of Christ, and we will be with Christ in Heaven, to know him who is invisible, even as we are known (1 John 3: 2-3). This would finalise our faith and our hope. Clearly, the spirit of this age works to get unbelievers to ignore this godly hope. These are the kinds of challenges and false teachings churches face.
The Holy Spirit works too, so that we as believers do not put this godly hope on the back burner, in chasing after or becoming captivated by self-centred ambition and instant gratification - either in the ministry or in the material world.
iii.Love is a command that personality must obey
Christ dwells in our hearts through faith. It is the Holy Spirit that brings this into being, and the Holy Spirit further creates in us a sincere love for God, for Christ and others (Eph 3:16-19; Rom 5:5). The Holy Spirit will fill your hearts with God’s love and increase your love for one another and people generally, that it might over flow (1 Thes 3:12).
All three of the top commandments given to us from God centre on love (Matthew 22:37-39; John 13:34-35). A command from God is an order or directive given by his authority, that must not be violated (Matt 15:3); and that sets the signposts and the landmarks by which the believer must live in this journey of allegiance to God. A divine commandment is not a suggestion and it cannot be an option, it is an obligation. This means that one’s old personality and old nature must change and submit to the work of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 5:17), to comply with the divine command to love.
We may not elevate self-centred or aloof natures and personalities, above the commandments to love God, and to love other human beings and followers of Christ. These are the kinds of challenges and false teachings churches face. Our Lord had full knowledge of the past, present and future personality and nature, of the Apostle Peter. Still Jesus demanded of Peter not only intelligent and purposeful love from him, but also a personal heartfelt love-devotion to Him (John 21:15-18).
Church Leader Pearls respectfully points you to exchange between Apostle Peter and our Lord will also show church leaders that keeping all three of the top commandments is indispensible as the basic qualification for Christian service; and essential among those they shepherd.