For many years now it has been my position that many, if not most, believers get their “theology” from Paul and their warm fuzzy comfort verses from Jesus. However, it’s my contention that we should get our theology of faith from Jesus first. I was reminded of this again the other day when a lady in our Bible Study class noted that she had once read that we practice our Christianity when we should be pursuing Christ. It’s a great phrase and merits some truth. Of course this lead to a litany of folks chiming in with their favorite Pauline phrases that supported that idea, being “conformed to the image of Christ” being the winner.
As I thought about those comments and how people voiced them with little hesitation, it made me wonder why we weren’t more intent on understanding and pursing Christ’s primary commandment to his disciples that they “love one another.” Doing so would say to all who witnessed, these are indeed followers of Christ. Isn’t that the true nature of pursing Christ? Doesn’t love cover a multitude of sins? Isn’t love our greatest expression of faith?. Are not Peter and Paul fleshing out Jesus’ theology and not their own when they deposit those thoughts for us?
Yes, there may be more to our walk of faith than love. But it is unlikely anything is more important. We love because we are commanded to love by Christ. We serve one another out of love. We are obedient to the teachings of Jesus and his commandments out of love. We worship the Father out of love. It was God’s love that initiated the ministry of his son. Indeed the essence of Christ likeness is spawned from the fertile soil of love. Some might think that Paul’s thoughts as expressed in 1Cor 13 are original with him, but I would suggest they began in the heart, mind, and teaching of Jesus. Perhaps they were not expressed in the flowery words of a Paul, but they were succinct and to the point both expressed verbally by the Master and lived out in the presence of his followers. Should we ever have want for more than that?