The three pillars of our relationship with God are faith, love and obedience, but what these words represent in the New Testament is very different from what they represent in our ordinary ways of thinking and speaking.  Much that is misguided in religious thought arises from a mistaken assumption that meaning is exhausted by language, when the truth is that language only occupies a small region of meaning.

Thus God’s love is something very different from human love. And the problem is not removed by substituting a word from an older language than English, and saying something like “God’s love is agape love.”  That only substitutes an older inadequacy for a younger.

We learn about the pillars of our relationship with God, not by focusing on the ‘meaning’ or nature of human love, faith, and obedience, but by focusing on Jesus, who is God’s meaning, the Word, made flesh.

If we do that, we begin to learn, for example, that Christian obedience is filled with faith, that Christian faith is filled with love, and that Christian love is filled with obedience.  (John 15: 10)

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