Christians tend to be so religious that they are not producing love–in themselves and toward others. All your knowledge is idle if you do not love–first in your heart, in all your thoughts. And it manifests in your works.
“I am tired of hearing the term, ‘born again’,” states Pastor Derek Prince, “fourty million Americans claim they are ‘born again’.” The equivalent number in Canada is approximately four million. This is what Peter says about the manifestation of being ‘born again’ (1 Peter 1:22-24):
2 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever
Are you religious or are you born again?
Faith without love is dead
The verse in James 2:14-17 actually says “works” not love; but, they are one in the same.
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
It is so easy to criticize–a trademark of many churches. It is easy to criticize churches, the brethren or anyone not saved. How does this represent the love of Christ?
“Any use without love is misuse,” states Prince.
A roadmap for your heart
Here are the Lord’s instructions regarding works in 2 Peter 1:5-9. It is empirical–a map to follow in your spiritual growth. The first stop is virtue, then knowledge, then self-control, then perseverance, then godliness, then brotherly kindness and finally the seventh and final stop, the assurance of salvation, love.
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
The Greek word for love is ‘agape’–love for your enemies, those who persecute you, everyone.
I add Pastor Derek Prince’s prescient sermon for you to learn more deeply. It is deeply touching, especially toward the end. See, hear love uncharacteristic of most humans in action.