Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs 27:17

Monday, February 19, 2024

Galatians 5:5-6 (Daily Verse and Comment)

  Galatians 5:5-6

(5) For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. (6) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. 
New King James Version   Change your email Bible version

The last phrase, "but faith working through love[is everything]." It is contrasted to circumcision, which avails nothing.

Faith works through or by love. This is a two-sided statement. The love of God produces faith in us for Him because, without His revelation of Himself, we would never have faith in Him since, before conversion, we do not know the true God. We do not know what He is like. We do not know where to look for Him, and until He reveals the truth about Himself, we are behind the proverbial eight ball. So, faith works by love in the sense that in God's revelation of Himself, He opens knowledge and understanding to us that was not previously available to us. God's love begins by building faith in us in Him.

The other side of the coin is, in return for God's love given to us to produce faith, faith reveals itself to God by returning love to God. We give it back to Him in submission. "If you love Me," Jesus says in John 15:14, "keep My commandments." A living faith will do that.

Suppose a husband asks his wife, "Do you believe that I love you?" and the wife answers, "Yes, I know that you exist." Do we get the point? If our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, said to us, "Do you know that I love you?" how does He expect us to reply? Does He want to hear, "Yes, I know that You exist?" This answer is faith at its lowest form, merely a belief.

If we really love Christ, our faith in Him, our future Husband, will respond, not by merely acknowledging that He is, but by loving Him back. Faith works by or through love. In this way, God can tell how much faith we have. He learns this not merely by testing us through trials, but by seeing if and how we give the love of God back to Him through submission. We understand by experience that we can return love, an intimate love, only to someone we trust—faith. If one's spouse, the one to whom we should be giving such love, disregards us and commits a horrible sin that destroys our trust, it is quite difficult to return real love or even feign love to him or her.

This understanding is a way we can test our faith, and it is probably the one that God will evaluate us on most thoroughly. The first of the great commandments is whether we love God with all our heart, soul, being, might, strength, etc. If we love Him, we will submit to Him and keep His commandments. That is where faith works—in submission and obedience, revealing our love for God. How well have we done in this area?

— John W. Ritenbaugh

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