Being and Doing

If you know me, you know how important I think being is over doing. Yet the quote (from my friend Eli) below makes a good point, scripturally:

“There are some who believe splendidly but do almost nothing. It is doing that is the distinguishing mark of those who love Christ. Others hear, these do. Those who please Christ are those who do His will. His followers are sent out into the world, not merely to know, to believe, to make profession of His name, to dream, but to do. Christian love ought to show itself in all holy service, in thoughtfulness towards other, in kindness, in readiness to help.” (Tsaritsa Alexandra, 1917)

Her remarks might easily have hit home for the Ephesian church of Revelation 2. Ephesus seems to have been a doctrinal stronghold, sniffing out heresy and weak doctrine with the efficiency and fervor of a bloodhound. The “believed splendidly,” defending the faith against theological flabbiness.

But they are missing the love, John says, they had at the beginning. Author and speaker Dr. Sam Storms, in his meditations on Revelation, writes: “Christianity necessarily entails both orthodox belief and obedient behavior. It’s inconceivable to me that anyone would suggest that it only matters what we believe or, conversely, that it only matters how we behave. The two are inseparably wedded in the purposes of God and each withers in the absence of the other.” He goes on to note that “What we see in the church at Ephesus, therefore, was how their desire for orthodoxy and the exclusion of error had created a climate of suspicion and mistrust in which brotherly love could no longer flourish. Their eager pursuit of truth had to some degree soured their affections one for another. It’s one thing not to “bear with those who are evil” (Rev. 2:2), but it’s another thing altogether when that intolerance carries over to your relationship with other Christ-loving Christians!”

In our day, we have seen some resurgence of an Ephesian mindset. At times our rationalism, fed by our Enlightenment forefathers, has cost us the loving response to those still wrestling with God that Jesus requires of his followers. “They will know you’re mine when they see your love,” he tells his disciples. We must remember that, when we are tempted to turn on those who have fallen and devour them for their weak or failed faith and theology. We must continue to pair orthodoxy (right belief) with orthopraxy (right behavior), the crown jewel of which is love that knows no boundary.

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6 thoughts on “Being and Doing”

  1. Great insights! I have started thinking about sin vs. sinners and thought you might have an opinion on the subject.

    At Redeemer last night, Timothy Keller spoke on conversion. (Yes, I finally started to go to Redeemer.) During the third point, he talked about grace and religion…how Jesus is salvation and in the next point, how attitude is bigger than action. (Which goes along with being vs. doing.)

    Later that night, I was talking with my dad about the sermon and how it brought new revelation on sin for me. Sin is anything that separates us from God. Non-christians live in a state of sin, but christians, even though we are saved by grace, commit acts that separate us from God, also known as sin. With all that has been going on in the Church these days, looking at sin in this light has gaven me a new understanding of grace and how I should view non-christians.

    Just food for thought!!

  2. I’ve been thinking along these same lines. We often default to one of two tendencies: We either forsake loving others to love God, or forsake loving God at the expense of loving other humans. And regardless of which tendency one leans toward, it’s truth that gets the knife.

  3. I’m so jealous, Amy, that you’re going to Redeemer. I admire Keller so much, and you’re hearing him live and in person. His perspective is usually pride-shattering.

    A proper view of sin seems to be AWOL in the church these days. I read in the Rocky Mountain Post that New Life Church had made the word sin optional in its “talking points” for parents. Sad.

    “It’s truth that gets the knife.” Well put, friend. Unfortunately, too often it’s Occam’s Razor that’s put to truth’s throat. It’s that cheeky Western enlightened rationalism again.

  4. Great job getting Occam into the conversation. All this talk of razors reminds me that I didn’t shave this morning.

    Joking aside, the Western church seems to have lost its first love. Christ’s admonition to do the “first things again” should be taken to heart by the church, lest we succumb to the same fate as the church at Ephesus.

    We should be more than fountain heads for sound doctrine (orthodoxy). We should also be the hands and feet of Christ, they body reaching a hurt, lost, and dying world. Christ calls his church to perform right practice (orthopraxy). There are naked who need to be clothed. There are hungry that need to be feed. There are those in prison who need to hear the reconciling message of the cross. Will the church go. Will I go. Will you go.

  5. ” the Western church seems to have lost its first love”

    that is a very profound remark. I would add, “it has lost its first love, AND IT SHOWS.” It shows most glaringly in American politics, culture, and orthodpraxy.

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