It is a false choice to question the need for integrity, faithfulness, keeping Jesus’ commands as an essential characteristic of a faith that knows the reality that He is the Christ, the Son of God, the Lord. We pray that God would keep us faithful each day in the Lord’s Prayer when we pray that:
Mt 6:9 …‘Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Our request that God’s name would be honored contains the commitment on our part that we would not betray Him and profane His name. As disciples we bear His name, so we are not to betray Him and profane it. We do this by keeping His commands that teach us what it means to love. This is the thrust of the Great Commission:
Mt 28:19 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 follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Faith is knowing. In philosophy as referred to in an earlier post, knowing is warranted true belief. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge) Knowing has to do with propositions and the truth of the belief. Truth is propositions or statements that are true or real. Facts or ideas can be known. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth )
James 2:18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
Our Christian faith as knowing is more than the demons’ awareness that God is one and shudders. It is more than having the truth. It is inevitably a knowing that acts.
One way to understand this is to identify two kinds of knowing: tacit knowing and performative knowing. If I ask “do you know how to ride a bike?” and you reply “yes” thinking to yourself “you put your hands on the handlebar, sit on the seat, put your feet on the pedals, and push them around”, that is tacit knowing, knowing-about. But when I ask “do you know how to ride a bike?” I am wondering if you can get on the bike and ride it. Anyone who knows how others ride bikes only has a tacit knowledge. Once you learned how to personally ride a bike, you do not return to the state of merely tacit knowing but have the kind of knowing that acts, performative knowing.
He 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice….7 By faith Noah,… prepared an ark…8 By faith Abraham,… obeyed by going out to a place… 13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises…7 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac,… 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau,… 24 By faith Moses,… refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,… 39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
Faith acts. Faith is knowing the reality of God’s word and world and living out that reality. If I told you that an unknown company named Amazon was going to become unbelievably profitable, showed you the fact, and you were persuaded that I was right and it was true that Amazon would succeed, do you know that is reality or just a true statement? Taking all your money and buying Amazon based on knowing it will be successful is the kind of knowing that is the Christian faith.
t 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells everything that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold everything that he had and bought it.
Faith is the kind of knowing that is faithful because it knows that its knowledge is the reality of life. We know that God created the world, that we are lost, that Jesus is risen and that we are redeemed in Him. We know that He has commanded us to love God, our neighbor, our enemies, and one another. Failing to live faithful lives is failing to have faith. We are not saved by our efforts and our faithful service is not to earn God’s favor but to share the reality of God’s grace in love to others. The language of faith and believe supports this idea. The words in both Greek and Hebrew that are rendered as faith or belief includes the concept of faithfulness.
Faith- pístis (πίστις) G4102 conviction of the truth of anything, fidelity, faithfulness [i]
Faith – ʼĕmûwnâh (אֱמוּנָה) H530 Steadiness, stead-fastness, faithfulness, trust [ii]
Believe – pisteúō (πιστεύω) G4100 to think to be true, to be persuaded, to believe
Believe- ʼâman (אָמַן) H539 to support, confirm, be faithful
Faith and faithfulness, trust and trustworthiness are emblematic of the kind of knowing that acts.
Mt 7:17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave me, you who practice lawlessness.’ 24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
Jesus is insistent and persistent in asserting that the faith of His followers is knowing Him as Lord and acting in obedience, keeping his commands. Disciples follow Jesus who instructs them:
Mt 10:37 “The one who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and the one who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And the one who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 The one who has found his life will lose it, and the one who has lost his life on My account will find it.
In the Lord’s Prayer, after committing to a life of integrity in, “Hallowed be Your Name”, we volunteer to serve Christ regardless of the cost.
Mt 6:10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven
The “Your will be done on earth” echoes Jesus, prayer in the Garden:
Mt 26:39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”
Having been given the name of Christ in baptism as he has claimed us for His own, we pray for the realization of the Kingdom of God, the good news. Invoking God’s will on earth includes our commitment to serve like Jesus even in death to establish His Kingdom. His will for us in the Great Commission as disciples is that we keep His commands. The reality of the faith that we have must compel us to act, loving one another, God with our heart, mind, soul, and strength; our neighbor as ourself, our enemies and one another.
Keeping the commands is not something added to the faith we must have in Christ, it is an essential characteristic of the faith that knows Jesus.
[i] “BLB Strong’s G4102 Pistis.”
[ii] “BLB Strong’s H530 ’ĕmûnâ.”