I have noticed that sometimes faith communities who believe in the Bible can come to have a cultural understanding of their faith rather than a personal one.
I am not saying that they don’t know the basics what the Bible says personally, but that they didn’t do the digging to get there so it is more of an intellectual knowledge than a heart matter. We can know what is wrong because that is what was taught to us know what Bible verses to point to support points of faith but that is not enough. Bible believers with head knowledge without character change can develop a “the ends justify the means” approach to presenting the Bible when relating to others. They don’t care how things are said or done but just that they are, but Paul reminds us to do better.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
Nothing we do in the name of God has real value if we lack the Spirit of God. You can tell people about Yeshua, the Sabbath, clean and unclean meats, and so on but if we are lacking love in how we relate to others our commitment to God is an illusion. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 .
Some may think the text above is referring to those unbelievers but note the statement “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” It is not those who deny God that have a form of godliness without power but those who claim to be followers of God whose personal lives lack the transforming power of God. We can falsely assume our profession of faith will save us when actually all we have is an empty loveless form of godliness with correct beliefs regarding faith, but not a living faith that transforms our character and how we interact with others.
Picture originally found here