The Bible, especially the New Testament, has much to say about both faith and love. Which of these virtues or requirements is paramount? The emphasis of the church has generally been placed on the requirement for faith. By faith they mean, my faith or your faith in Jesus and by logical extension our faith in the church’s interpretation of how that faith is demonstrated to God in an accepted way. When we recognize that faith under this paradigm involves church doctrine, what we must accept is that our faith includes confidence in our and the church’s ability to properly understand God’s requirements and then successfully fulfill those same requirements. It is not hard to feel uneasy about this aspect of faith as defined by Orthodoxy. Human capability and understanding is a shaky thing.
The Bible definition of faith is given in Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. This faith does not necessarily imply my faith and faithfulness. Nowhere does it say this is my faith. The faithfulness of Christ in the fulfilling God’s promises to all mankind is the guarantee that God’s blessing is a reality even though that blessing may be unobserved by the human senses. Our reliance on the faithfulness of Jesus to guarantee the inalterable promises of God is a lot surer and more comforting than any other humanly derived faith and faithfulness.
In church theology, love, though prominent in describing God’s relationship with man, always seems to be placed in a secondary category relative to man’s personal faith. In church understanding love is conditional, contingent upon this personal faith. We are reduced to relying on ourselves to achieve a state of being loved by God. God’s love is therefore obviously secondary to faith because our faith initiates and assures the continuation of God’s love.
As long as we believe that our ability is the determining factor in whether or not we enjoy God’s Love, we will never really experience that Love. Instead our human frailties will constantly suggest our unworthiness and steal from us the joy that a confidence in God’s faithfulness alone would insure.