Faith, Liberty and Love

 

 

In spiritually growing as individuals and as a congregation, I submit the following: In matters of faith, we should maintain unity.  In matters of opinion, we should allow liberty.  In all matters, however, we should demonstrate charity, or love.

 

Jesus spoke of the importance of maintaining unity amongst His followers.  In fact, it was such an important issue to Him that He prayed to the Father the last night He lived before His crucifixion that His disciple would have the same unity that He and the Father had: "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours: and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine: and I am glorified in them.  And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to You.  Holy Father, keep them in Your name which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are.  And the glory which You have given Me I have given unto them; that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that You did send Me, and love them, even as You love Me."  (John 17:9-11; 22-23)

 

Paul also wrote on the unity believers should have, when he said, "Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment."  (1 Corinthians 1:10)  What should they be speaking?  Paul said to the Christians in Ephesus, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all."  (Ephesians 4:4-6)

 

In matters of liberty, we are allowed some freedom to decide for ourselves: "One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike.  Let each man be fully assured in his own mind.  So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God."  (Romans 14:5; 12)  We should, however, exercise our liberty with restraint and caution.  Paul said, "But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to the weak…and whatsoever is not of faith is sin."  (1 Corinthians 8:9; Romans 14:23)

 

In all that we do, we must do so out of love for the Lord and the brethren.  Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).  It is by our love for one another that the world will now we are His disciples: "By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another."  (John 13:35)

 

May the Lord bless you!

 

David Ferguson