How knowledge and love work together in the church

By Paul Hammons
Oct. 21, 2018

In the previous lesson, we talked about the importance of knowledge in our relationship to God. We cannot conform our image to God if we do not know God, or if we do not understand how God wants us to live.

However, Paul talks about knowledge in 1 Corinthians 13 as being empty, or “puffing up,” without love.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” –  1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Jesus states that the greatest commandment is to love God, and that the second is to love your neighbor as yourself, and that “on this hangs all the law and the prophets.” That doesn’t mean that love and obedience are distinct, and that I can please God with one and not the other. It simply means that everything I do in service to God must flow out of my love for God, and that my love for God causes me in turn to love my neighbor, because God loved my neighbor first.

In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul give the perfect example of knowledge and loving working together in the way that we consider our brothers and sisters in Christ. “All things are lawful, but not all things edify.” In matters of judgment, our first instinct should not be about defending our rights to do something or live in a certain way, but rather how our lives will impact and influence other Christians — particularly those that might be weak in the faith, and who might be influenced to sin by our actions.

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