Does God prefer belief or obedience?

Church sign board

“God Prefers Kind Atheists Over Hateful Christians” said the article and the photo, and it caught my attention as it caught many others’ (as it was aimed at doing).

Is it true?

What does the Bible say?

I can think of passages that support and passages which oppose this view.

Support:

  • Jesus says in Matthew 25:31-46 that we will be judged by how we treat others.
  • James says we must avoid anger and obey God’s teachings (James 1:19-26), and that our actions portray our true faith (James 2:14-24).
  • Jesus said what we do counts, rather than what we say (Matthew 21:28-32).

Oppose:

  • Paul says we are saved by our faith rather than our deed (Galatians 2:8-10).
  • Hebrews 11:6 says it is impossible to please God if we have no faith.
  • “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”. 1 John 5:12.

The verdict?

I don’t think we can say. We can say for sure that God is not happy with either unbelief or anger and hate. And we can say for sure that’s God’s grace and forgiveness can extend to both. But we don’t know God’s mind.

But it is salutary to remember that God’s judgment begins with us who believe (1 Peter 4:17) and we who are given much will have much expected of us (Luke 12:48). So let us love sincerely, and not hate.

What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “Does God prefer belief or obedience?

  1. IgnorantiaNescia says:

    If I were to agree with Arminian theology (on which Methodism is based, so the good pastor seems consistent here) I would be inclined to think that the pastor is correct, especially because Christian is sometimes something of a cultural category in the American context as well.

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  2. thebiblereader says:

    I would say both…..He wants both faith/belief and obedience.

    For first we must have faith to believe in God and Jesus Christ. and through faith we will want to please or not offend him in our obedience.

    I can’t really see having one without the other.

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