PC Alisha Mullett
I believe many of us have been doing church all wrong. I’ve grown up in churches where doctrine and behavior are the two deciding factors by which our relationship with God is determined. But is that as it should be? I don’t claim to have such wisdom or theological understanding that surpasses all others. Definitely not. But recently, I was listening to a speaker, and God impressed on my heart how we as the church have majorly messed up with our focus over the years. This includes my own.
Please know that my intent in writing this blog is not to prove my point, but rather for us to be open to God’s voice. Would you just ask God to show you if there’s any way He wants to challenge or encourage you through my feeble attempts to grow in His likeness? And if you believe these concepts are in violation with God’s word, please pray that God will continue to form me more into His likeness and reveal His truth.
I believe we often get side tracked by the enemy on “important issues” without getting to the heart of the issue. One of these areas is the debate of eternal security. Satan wants us to focus on whether we have eternal security, rather than on what determines our eternal destiny.
Where we will spend our eternity is not determined on how well we understand the scriptures or by how many good works we do. Our eternal security is based on much more than that. Let’s see what God’s word says about what our greatest focus should be.
Matthew 22:36-40 says, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
In this passage, Jesus was cutting to the heart of what it meant to be Jewish. I believe He was saying, “Correct theology is useless without love for God.”
Now Jesus wasn’t saying that the Law wasn’t important anymore or that the lives of the prophets were insignificant. The Law is what governed their behavior. It represented what they DID.
And what about the prophets? I believe they represented Israel’s spiritual relationship with God. They were the voice of God to keep Israel on track. It is helpful to think of the Law and the prophet in this way. The Law had to do with the outward, while the prophets had to do with the inward. Both were vital.
Between these two, Israel’s whole relationship to God was governed. Yet Jesus changed the entire focus of their religious practice when He states that something else was even more important and of greater significance.
Jesus said the Law and the prophets hangs on something else. The Law and the prophets are both important, but without loving God, they are both null and void. On the other hand, everything will be balanced and in order when our doctrine is hinged on loving God and loving others. If we focus on what is the most important, the other two will fall into place.
Within the body there are often many disagreements regarding eternal security, faith and works, and eschatology. But I believe we are missing the point when we’re focusing on these side issues rather than on how well we are loving God and others. If Jesus says our most important focus is loving God, why aren’t we focusing on that? Why aren’t we having discussions on social media about how to love God in a deeper way? We end up having problems when we do not hang our Christianity on these two commandments.
Doctrine and behavior are certainly both important. We need to know what we believe, and we need to walk in holiness and obedience to God’s word. But remember, if our doctrine isn’t hung on these two commandments, it’s not enough. It’s invalid. And this type of “religion” will always hurt those around us.
True, biblical Christianity is when our very relationship with God is determined by our love for Him and our love for others.
In reality, those who are focusing on obeying God’s commands without truly loving Him are falling short. How well are you and I loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength at this moment? Are we allowing Him to speak into our life? When we continue loving Him, we will never have to worry about “losing our salvation” or wondering whether our works are enough. But one must ask, how can I know if I am truly loving God? God’s word clearly tells us. Read it and allow Him to show you if you’re loving Him.
John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”
God gives us earthly relationships so we can better understand heavenly relationships. Do you quit loving your spouse every time you demonstrate an unloving action? Of course not. Do we lose our salvation every time we sin?
Of course not. But here’s the next question. Can you say you love your spouse if your actions develop a pattern or lifestyle of being unloving? What if you begin having adulterous relationships? Wouldn’t we all agree that there comes a time when we’d say it’s obvious you don’t love your spouse any more? The same is true in our relationship with Father God. Just because I love Him today, doesn’t mean I will continue loving Him the rest of my life. (I wish it would!) Loving God is a continual daily choice.
So let’s take a deeper look into the condition of our own hearts rather than on outward symptoms. Correct theology alone isn’t enough for a relationship with God. Neither are works. The foundation for our relationship is loving God and loving others.
Guess what happens when we focus wholeheartedly on loving God and loving those closest to us? Correct biblical theology and good works will follow. I don’t care to argue about which theology is correct or what church standards you’re upholding. But I do care about how well you love God and those around you. Focus on loving God and He will do the rest.
~Cindy Mullett (For The Mullett Family)
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”