Faith, Hope, Love – they are verbs… not nouns

Andrei Rublev's Trinity, representing the Fath...

Andrei Rublev’s Trinity, representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in a similar manner. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day….

James 2:17-18 (TEV) 17  So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead. 18  But someone will say, “One person has faith, another has actions.” My answer is, “Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions.”  

479      Whenever you speak of the theological virtues, of faith, of hope, of love, remember that, rather than to theorise on, they are virtues to be practised. (1)

I was reading this morning about the church – and one man’s ideas of re-invigorating it, of restoring it to its prior glory.  There were a lot of things he thought could be done to restore it in this “post-Christian” age in which we live.  And then he went on with his list – fix this, restore that, and basically laid down His law.

I closed the book, (well, the Kindle Ap) and was frustrated.  For one, I don’t believe we are in a post-Christian age – I think that sort of speculation is based on frustration and a lack of identity and mission in the church.  Specifically, we know what we are to save people from – but then what?  Salvation is a synonym for deliverance  – but a delivery takes us from one place – and brings us to another.

Or to paraphrase Jesus – what happens to someone who is demon-possessed and is freed – and does nothing?   What happens is the demon comes back – this time with friends – because the feasting on a empty soul is what they yearn for.

We have to deliver people to something – specifically to the relationship that Jesus provides us the opportunity to enter – with the Trinity.  To dwell with God – here when the Holy Spirit dwells within us, and then eventually, in the full presence and glory of the Father.

That’s what we are meant for – that’s what we are called to, this covenantal relationship…

That is where these verbs come in – the verbs faith, hope and love.   That is why James teaches us that they are not in a vacuum – things to be dissected, exegeted, studied by theologians who come up with libraries of books about them.

We are called to “do” faith – a better word- to trust in our God.  To do that which is basically laying every burden we’ve ever had, every worry, every pain into His care – including our very lives… and let His use it all.  To realize that every moment is our interaction with Him – and that He walks with us.

We are called to “do” hope – – to eagerly live life expecting Him by our side – expecting Him to fulfill His promises.  Not just hope like someone might hope their team wins the world series – but hope as in basing our entire lives and actions on what God has promsied us.

And love – the greatest of actions – for love is an action – maybe it is better to say it is ever more than action.  It is that which compells, directs, causes, guides and drives and defines our action.   It changes the very nature of all we do – and all that is done to us.  It is life itself – but life that lives with another as our core.

Even writing this – I am doing what I say shouldn’t be done – talking about these things…

So its time to do these things….

So trust in God…. expect His word to be true in your life… and love as you are loved.


(1)   Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1829-1831). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on September 25, 2013, in Devotions, Theology in Practice and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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