Promises and Secrets
A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.
Zeal Without Knowledge
Though we have spoken of many denominations that do not seem to follow all of the commands of God, this does not mean they don't care about loving the Lord. However, they seem to forget the words of Paul in Romans 10:1-3
1 Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. (NIV)
. Zeal alone is not enough.
Jesus told us: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " (Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV))
What do you think?
Everyone looks at Matt 22:37-39 (in the FACT box above) and says something like, "See? All you need is love."
This makes me think that they have totally missed the last five words in verse 37 - the part where Jesus commands us to have knowledge of Him. You can "love" all you want, but if you don't know what it is you are loving, it does you no good because you are not loving the real God. People honestly do love Jesus with all their heart, but when you mention that He is going to decide who goes to eternal life and who goes into the Lake of Fire, they just cannot accept that. They forget to use their mind to include all they have read. All too often I hear them say, "My Jesus would never send anyone to Hell!". Then I have to remind them of Matt 25:31-33, 41-43, and 46
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
46Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (NIV)
. The Jesus they "love" is not the same one described in the Bible - both testaments.
But who do you love? Jesus, or someone you made up?
So, what did Paul mean by his statement in Romans 10:1-3
1Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. (NIV)
about the non-Messianic Israelites? They were and still are zealous for God and His law, but without the knowledge of Jesus, the goal of the Torah, it does them no good. They cannot find salvation through the law alone.
But this statement can also apply in the other direction. Faith in Jesus, regardless of zeal, is not enough without knowing the true God and Jesus, Their real truth, and following the commands of God - which are also the commands of the Son.
"But, all you need is love..."
"But wait!", you say, "What about Acts 16:31
31They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household."
? Paul and his companions told the jailers, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved - you and your household.' That's all you have to do! Right?"
For those of you who just bristled up, look at Proverbs 19:2
Here are several versions, including the Greek, that all say the same thing:
New International Version
2Desire without knowledge is not good - how much more will hasty feet miss the way!
New Living Translation
2Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.
English Standard Version
2Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.
New American Standard Bible
2Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, And he who hurries his footsteps errs.
King James Bible
2Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
2Even zeal is not good without knowledge, and the one who acts hastily sins.
Complete Jewish Bible
2To act without knowing how you function is not good; and if you rush ahead, you will miss your goal.
Greek Interlinear - Proverbs 19 Interlinear
2Also to be outside [are] knowledge [that] the soul not [it is] good and he who hastens [his] with feet sins
, and choose your favorite. Why bring out these? Well, look at the next verse after Acts 16:31; verse 32
31They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved - you and your household." 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.
says that they spoke the word of the Lord to him and his family. These people had to learn who Jesus was before they could believe in Him. They had just seen what He could do, but did not yet know Him. No matter how you slice it, enthusiasm without knowledge is useless.
And, now that you know...
You must know what the Lord expects of you, and then have zeal in your faith as well as your actions. Think about this for a moment. Enthusiastic faith in Jesus, without knowing all He stands for, allows you to believe that He will save, but then any of your actions that are contrary to His will just might condemn you.
Peter makes the same statement in different words in 2 Peter 1:2-4
2Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Confirming One's Calling and Election
3His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (NIV)
, showing the importance of knowledge of God's promises, and all of these require faith and obedience. That "knowledge of Him who called us" is a part of faith that many do not see as part of the whole package.
To know what the Lord expects of us, we must know the real Lord Jesus. Not only the One who will save the ones who believe in Him, but the One who will judge and condemn those who do not know Him. Because if you do not know Him, then when you knock to try to get in, He will not know you. Remember the five foolish virgins. Only when you know the real Jesus, and follow what He expects, will you have the faith that saves.
For those who feel that Proverbs doesn't apply any more because it is in the Old Testament, so are the ten commandments. Where else can we find instructions as to how to find this knowledge if not the same source Paul used as the foundation for his knowledge? The Old Testament! Read it zealously!
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