It is common, especially in this America culture, to view faith through the liens of individualism and self-pride. That faith is ‘yours’ and has nothing to do with anyone or anything else. But it is this cultural view that distorts what faith really is. In this article we will look at what faith truly is and how some who claim to have faith are really just inconsiderate and selfish.
What is Christian Faith
Christian Faith is the trust in, and dependence on, who Jesus is, what he did, said, what he is still doing, and what he is going to do in the future. Each person will be accountable for where they place their faith in this life. Jesus asked his disciples what the crowds thought about him, then he turned his attention directly to a single apostle and asked the most direct question. “Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29; Matthew 16:15; Luke 9:20). But it is what true christian faith then compels believers to do that defies cultural ideas like individualism.
Also read Jesus is God
Compelled to Care
Christian faith compels believers to care about others. Not just in a physical or emotional sense but in a spiritual one. Not only do we care about their health and feelings but we care about their spiritual state before God himself. This is where a lot of new, immature, and false believers run into issues. Self-seeking and prideful hearts pick and choose whom they want to care for, leaving other people out. James chapter 2 expresses the relation to faith and the natural resulting care.
Partiality and Favoritism
“do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism… 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.“
This is directed at our attitude toward others. Do we favor some people over another? James’ example here is rich being favored over the poor but his principle applies to all areas. Like when we favor those who agree with us and show partiality to those who do not agree with our views. Or show partiality based on race, ethnicity, being male or female, disabled, and any other area that is ordained by God and not subject to our relative preference. But this also extends to this bold idea: Showing negative partiality towards those who are in sin and are not; those who believe and those who do not. Do you care for the believers and nonbelievers?
Also read Me, Myself, And I and “Doing Me”
God shows in his absolute knowledge and goodness through our ultimate favoritism. Those whom he chose to know him and those whom he granted the desire of sin to not know him; based on our own favoritism. God alone gives everyone the eternally equal opportunity, known before the beginning of time, to have every loving and just opportunity to come to faith. At the coming day of Judgement there will not be a single person who will have any excuse for not believing that Jesus is God. With that said, as we apply God’s eternal perspective to favoritism and partiality we see this:
There is no distinction between materialistic rich and poor, race, ethnic and cultural heritage, profession and career, or gender; to God (James 2:2-3; Galatians 3:28). Because all things of this world will parish and the only thing that does matter is our standing before a holy God and the propitiation of our Sin. If all these are equal then what and how do we care for others?
This is NOT to say there should not be cultural, gender, profession, and economic focused ministries. There should be and needs to be, as some Christians are gifted in some areas and not the others. But as an individual in daily life, we interact with the world around us; we should not choose to avoid one for another but seek the benefit of all that God brings to us and around us.
How to Care
We care for others by caring about their relationship to the supremely loving and absolute holy God through his one and only begotten Son Jesus Christ who is Lord and Savior. We ensure that everyone we care about hears the Gospel message but also see and feel God’s love through our actions. We exorcise our faith because not only are we commanded to but because we are compelled to. Thus we care (James 2:14-17).
Our faith is not merely words or only selfish, but because of our faith in the fact that God loves and is gracious; we should physically, emotionally, materialistically, and what ever means necessary, put our faith into action for the benefit of all people around us. James 2:26 says it best “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”
Also read Faith Without Works is Dead
Who do we care for?
Because God shows unconditional common grace to his all his creation (Psalm 145:9). He even shows a kind of grace for evil and unrighteous people (Matthew 5:45) and is slow to anger (Nahum 1:3). We also see that The Gospel Message, for all people, at all times everywhere, is supported by God’s common grace. In light of James 2:24-26 we are compelled to care for everyone in deed and action with proclaiming the Gospel Message. We should not show favoritism to those who we better get a long with or more closer agree with. We do not go to one race and not the other; or to one ethnic group and not another. Or only cater to the rich and not the poor. We show God’s grace and truth to everyone equally.
Our faith should be considerate and caring for all people. We should love all people equally.
When believers become Inconsiderate
We sin and are not caring for people when we view our faith selfishly and impartially. That our faith some how has nothing to do with others; when in fact our faith should compel us to care for others. This can be sometimes done unknowingly and blindly. We can be knowingly inconsiderate when we support and encourage things that we ourselves find offensive and wrong.
Modern movies are a prime example. When Christians go see a movie at the theater knowing that it has softcore porn scenes in it, then attempting to justify themselves by saying something like “it doesn’t effect my faith”. The question becomes; do you even care about the person(s) you are perfectly fine watching in their sin? A redirected personal question can be asked: why are you okay with watching someone else sin and fine with encountering others to view their sin? This is the selfishness to justify the Christians own sinful wants without caring for the state of others. In some cases Psychologist understand this to be projecting ones own desires on to another and sinning vicariously. In this example it is the carelessness of the Christian to support the individual who is living in sin and acting in a softcore porn scene by “enjoying the movie and recommending it to others”. The same principle is applied to offensive derogatory music, writings and books, sinfully explicit job professions and so on. Do you care for the individual who is subjecting themselves to sinful things of this world and is your care just words or in deed as well?
Also read When the claim of Freedom is really Blind Pride | Have you been deceived by The World? | Christian Sinners or Christian Hypocrites | When Our Faith is Just Lip Service | 50 Shades of Christian Deception | How “Love is Love” is Unloving.
Faith is Inclusive
Genuine Christian faith is inclusive in the fact that it is selfless, self-sacrificial, and is meant to love others and proclaim to the gospel to the world. It rightly judges the needs of the current situations and not the self (Luke 9:23) and seeks to obey the The Great Commission of Jesus.
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 [a]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [b]always, even to the end of the age.””
It is impossible to be obedient to Jesus if the Christan faith was about yourself. Jesus himself commands those who believe, to love your neighbor as yourself (mark 12:30-31) and go to all nations and make disciples and teach them; thus faith in Jesus Christ is an all inclusive faith. The only relation to yourself in the Great Commission is to “Go”, “make”, and “teach”. In other words you are the vessel the include “all nations” for God’s glory (Mark 12:30).
Also read All Christians Are Missionaries
A faith that seeks its own and justifies its self without consideration of others is a faith in a idolized self. It shows partiality to others and favors its own desires and wants at the expense of others. That is not a true faith because it does not care for others except only those who it is partial towards.
Faith in who Jesus is, what he did,
and what he is going to do (the Gospel message) WILL compel true
believers to live out their faith unselfishly and self-sacrificially.
They will not only proclaim the gospel message in word but their life
will be a caring life. It will work for the spiritual benefit of all
those around. That is a true loving faith because it cares for others in both word and deed.
A true faith that has backslid into becoming inconsiderate WILL be compelled to repent. This is a beautiful thing. That The Holy Spirit leads those who are saved to continual repentance and continual spiritual growth and maturity. Thus eventually leading to a loving and caring faith in works and deeds anyway.
How can you lovingly care for your neighbor (mark 12:30-31); if you are perfectly fine with your neighbor living in sin and you just sit back and watch their sin for your own personal entertainment?
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