Is faith in God also love for God?


#1

I ask this out of curiosity. I don’t have an answer. Yet. I guess it depends on ones definition of faith. This came up when I was discussing sola fide with an Evangelical friend at work the other day. I don’t know how I came up with the question, only that it’s got me thinking about what the answer is.

My friend got a wee bit offended when I insinuated out of ignorance that having faith in God did not actually mean loving God. Basically I said she didn’t have to love God in order to believe in the concept of sola fide. Am I wrong?

I briefly looked into it and found a passage that would indicate that the two are indeed separable:

1Timothy 6:11 - But you, man of God, avoid all this. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.

If faith and love were the same wouldn’t this passage contain a redundancy?

I think my Protestant friend would argue that faith in God means loving God as well. I don’t know enough about sola fide to have an opinion. Anyone have an answer?

One more related question. Sorry. Is love a work?

Thanks


#2

[quote=John Joseph]I ask this out of curiosity. I don’t have an answer. Yet. I guess it depends on ones definition of faith. This came up when I was discussing sola fide with an Evangelical friend at work the other day. I don’t know how I came up with the question, only that it’s got me thinking about what the answer is.

My friend got a wee bit offended when I insinuated out of ignorance that having faith in God did not actually mean loving God. Basically I said she didn’t have to love God in order to believe in the concept of sola fide. Am I wrong?

I briefly looked into it and found a passage that would indicate that the two are indeed separable:

1Timothy 6:11 - But you, man of God, avoid all this. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.

If faith and love were the same wouldn’t this passage contain a redundancy?

I think my Protestant friend would argue that faith in God means loving God as well. I don’t know enough about sola fide to have an opinion. Anyone have an answer?
[/quote]

Yes, your friend is confusing faith in God with love for God, but at least she believes her faith needs to have love for God in order for it to be a living faith. And sola fide really has nothing to do with the topic that I can see, except that she probably thinks you, as a Catholic, believe in “works salvation”, which you don’t since that is not the teaching of the Catholic Church.

One more related question. Sorry. Is love a work?

Thanks

No problem. Love is one of the theological virtues. Acting out of love is a work, but all our good works are actions of the Holy Spirit moving us to act with love, which comes from the grace of God and not from us.

And you’re welcome! I hope that helps you! :slight_smile:


#3

oh, believe me, Satan and his demons have faith in God,
and in His existance…

but, no love of God…

:slight_smile:


#4

I wrote a blog post about this a while ago. I think this is the most significant difference between Protestant and Catholic understandings of justification. The Protestant position, from Luther on, is that you can’t have faith in Christ without love of God and neighbor. It isn’t that you have faith and then add love to it, but rather that faith always expresses itself in love. There are Protestants who think that you can be saved by faith that does not work in love, but they are heretics (and they are not expressing the historic Protestant position).

In a sense, it’s Catholics, not Protestants, who believe in sola fides. You don’t believe you can be saved by it (hence it’s not “sola fide”), but you believe it can exist. We don’t. We think that faith not working by love is just another religious opinion, of no particular spiritual value except in the general sense that all truth comes from God.

The faith that is a gift of God always comes with love. It’s part of the package.

Of course you need to work to acquire certain specific virtues. And those of us who don’t believe in OSAS believe that if faith does not continue to work through love it can die (Calvinists believe that the elect will inevitably persevere in love and that only the elect have faith in the first place). But we do not believe that it is possible to have the faith that is a gift from God (as opposed to mere belief of the kind one may have in anything) and not love God and neighbor.

In Christ,

Edwin


#5

[quote=johnshelby]oh, believe me, Satan and his demons have faith in God,
and in His existance…

but, no love of God…

:slight_smile:
[/quote]

But their faith is not a gift of God. Is it?

Edwin


#6

well, i guess then the answer to the question depends on
the definition of faith…

if you mean the “Confident belief in the truth, value, or
trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.”… then no love
is required…

if you mean the " theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will."

then love would be a necessary part… it would be to trustingly
accept His will…

or so it seems to me… lol

:slight_smile:


#7

Paul answers that question very clearly:

  • 1 Cor 13:2*
    if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

1 Cor 13:13
Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

One can have faith, ALL faith in fact, and NOT have love.

Love is GREATER than faith.

Fundamentalists must try and find a way to talk around these verses because they plainly fly in the face of “faith alone”. Often times that means redefining faith to include love, but scripture shows us, in no uncertain terms, that they are separate.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


#8

This is where I think I was heading with this question. I tend to agree, but don’t really know why! :o

John


#9

As an observer to this type of discussion, I see a protestant understanding of faith is one that encompasses the Catholic understanding of faith, hope, and charity (love).

It is in these semantic difference that so much confusion exists. And, from this cradle Catholic perspective, the Catholic semantic use of the distinguished definitions of faith, hope and charity enhances clarity of the discussion. One can have faith in God as Creator but have no hope or charity. As someone else pointed out, Satan even has faith in God.

The distinction of faith, hope, and charity vs. the lumping together in something that someone in CAF has called True Faith allows one to value each of these gifts as something distinct and necessary to be nurtured individually. Faith is primarily nurtured via worship. Hope in God’s Mercy and Redemptive Salvation of us sinners is nurtured in opening ourselves up to God’s love and personally and intimately experiencing God’s love. Charity is nurtured by how we respond to God’s love when we share it with others. But if we lump it together, we can become misguided in thinking that we have “True Faith” when in reality we have, without percieving its loss, lost hope or charity.


#10

I think it needs some more clarification. I think that faith in God, as in His person, His will, etc., requires a certain amount of love. However, if we’re talking about faith in the existence of God, then love is not required at all.


#11

[quote=Contarini]But their faith is not a gift of God. Is it?

Edwin
[/quote]

no, you are right… their ‘faith’ is based on knowledge…
it’s not the gift refered to…

:slight_smile:


#12

[quote=Orionthehunter]As an observer to this type of discussion, I see a protestant understanding of faith is one that encompasses the Catholic understanding of faith, hope, and charity (love).

It is in these semantic difference that so much confusion exists. And, from this cradle Catholic perspective, the Catholic semantic use of the distinguished definitions of faith, hope and charity enhances clarity of the discussion. One can have faith in God as Creator but have no hope or charity. As someone else pointed out, Satan even has faith in God.

The distinction of faith, hope, and charity vs. the lumping together in something that someone in CAF has called True Faith allows one to value each of these gifts as something distinct and necessary to be nurtured individually. Faith is primarily nurtured via worship. Hope in God’s Mercy and Redemptive Salvation of us sinners is nurtured in opening ourselves up to God’s love and personally and intimately experiencing God’s love. Charity is nurtured by how we respond to God’s love when we share it with others. But if we lump it together, we can become misguided in thinking that we have “True Faith” when in reality we have, without percieving its loss, lost hope or charity.
[/quote]

Here’s how Jimmy Akin puts it:

Justification by faith alone


#13

[quote=John Joseph]One more related question. Sorry. Is love a work?
[/quote]

Have you never loved? It is the most blessed work there is.


#14

Love is not “a” work, but rather as James uses the term “love” and “works” are synonymous as John shows:

1 John 3:18
we must not love in word or speech, but in deed and truth;

This is not to be confused with Paul’s usage of the word which is a specific reference to “works” of the Mosaic law.

“Love” is an action:


1 Cor 13

4 Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; 5 does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; 6 finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

In Christ,
Nancy :)**


#15

John Joseph:

There’s a difference…one is believing and the other is loving although both Theological virtues are inspired by God via grace are not one and the same. The CCC gives a great way of describing FAITH. CHARITY(Love) on the other hand is God’s love to us and our response to loving him and a natural consequence is loving others.

Hope this helps a bit…

in XT.


#16

Hello John,

Well if your “faith alone” Protestant friend believes that faith is love and God tells us that love is obedience then obviously “faith alone, not works of obedience” is a false statement. What do you think?

INT 1JO 5:3

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.INT JOH 14:15

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” **NAB JOH 15:22 **

“If I had not come to them and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; now, however, their sin cannot be excused. To hate me is to hate my Father. Had I not performed such works among them as no one has ever done before, they would not be guilty of sin; but as it is, they have seen, and they go on hating me and my Father.

NAB 1TI 1:5

What we are aiming at in this warning is the love that springs from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith. Some people have neglected these and instead have turned to meaningless talk, wanting to be teachers of the law but actually not understanding the words they are using, much less the matters they discuss with such assurance.

NAB GAL 5:6

In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor the lack of it counts for anything; only **faith, which expresses itself through love.**NAB 1TI 1:19

and hold fast to faith and a good conscience. Some men, by rejecting the guidance of conscience, have made a shipwreck of their faith,


#17

[quote=Steven Merten]Hello John,

Well if your “faith alone” Protestant friend believes that faith is love and God tells us that love is obedience then obviously “faith alone, not works of obedience” is a false statement. What do you think?

INT 1JO 5:3

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.INT JOH 14:15

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” **NAB JOH 15:22 **

“If I had not come to them and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; now, however, their sin cannot be excused. To hate me is to hate my Father. Had I not performed such works among them as no one has ever done before, they would not be guilty of sin; but as it is, they have seen, and they go on hating me and my Father.

NAB 1TI 1:5

What we are aiming at in this warning is the love that springs from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith. Some people have neglected these and instead have turned to meaningless talk, wanting to be teachers of the law but actually not understanding the words they are using, much less the matters they discuss with such assurance.

NAB GAL 5:6

In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor the lack of it counts for anything; only **faith, which expresses itself through love.**NAB 1TI 1:19

and hold fast to faith and a good conscience. Some men, by rejecting the guidance of conscience, have made a shipwreck of their faith,
[/quote]

Most Protestants believe that obedience is result of salvation which is a result of faith alone. If one is not obedient then one has proven that he doesn’t have “true faith” because if he did he’d be obedient.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


#18

[quote=Catholic4aReasn]Most Protestants believe that obedience is result of salvation which is a result of faith alone. If one is not obedient then one has proven that he doesn’t have “true faith” because if he did he’d be obedient.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:
[/quote]

hello Nancy,

Like the Protestant snake handlers. Right? Every once in a while a Protestant snake handler gets bit and dies. The others look around and say, “who would have thought that our deseased beloved Protestant so and so was really an unsaved, faithless hell goer!” If a Protestant snake handler dies from snake bite then it is proven that he didn’t have “true faith” because if he did he’d still be alive. Is this right? I mean is this the correct way in which such Protestants would view the senario?

Jesus was surprized at what little faith St. Peter had due to the fact that St. Peter could not even walk on water. Do the Protestants judge a person’s faith based on their water walking capabilities as well as their obedience to God’s commandments?

**NAB MAT 14:31 **

Jesus at once stretched out his hand and caught him. “How little faith you have!” he exclaimed. “Why did you falter?” Once they had climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat showed him reverence, declaring, “Beyond doubt you are the Son of God!


#19

[quote=Steven Merten]Hello John,

Well if your “faith alone” Protestant friend believes that faith is love and God tells us that love is obedience then obviously “faith alone, not works of obedience” is a false statement. What do you think?

[/quote]

Methinks I’m glad that I’m Catholic! :slight_smile:

I’ve never really spent a whole lot of time thinking about love vs. faith as I’ve always assumed that they were both major components of the whole salvation process. Which is true. Where I get confused is when a faith only Protestant tells me that faith alone is all one needs, but then when asked if you need to love God also says, “of course you do”. Where does the connection between the two exist in the whole sola fide system?

Thanks for all of your replies!

John


#20

[quote=Steven Merten]hello Nancy,

Like the Protestant snake handlers. Right? Every once in a while a Protestant snake handler gets bit and dies. The others look around and say, “who would have thought that our deseased beloved Protestant so and so was really an unsaved, faithless hell goer!” If a Protestant snake handler dies from snake bite then it is proven that he didn’t have “true faith” because if he did he’d still be alive. Is this right? I mean is this the correct way in which such Protestants would view the senario?

[/quote]

Is that what the snake handling crown believes when one of their numbers dies from a snake bite? I have no idea! That certainly would be a good example if it’s true.

In Christ,
Nancy :slight_smile:


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