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Faith, Hope, and Love...

Posted by Tim Boyd on

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NASB) But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

What is really significant? What will really stand the test of time? What will have meaning when other things cease to do so? In the verse above, Paul refers to three of his favorite themes--faith, hope and love. All of these are significant components of the Christian life.

Faith is key because right belief leads to right relationship. Faith is the means by which we are joined to Christ. We must accept Him by faith. We live and follow His path for life by faith. The scripture says “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). It is faith, which allows us to overcome the weakness of our own flesh to pursue the holiness and righteousness of God.

Hope, for Paul, meant the ultimate blessings that await us in Heaven. Hope is the end game toward which faith points us. Hope keeps us going even in the darkest hours. It is the internal reality of a future that is completely real to one who has experienced Jesus Christ in his or her life. Hope drives us forward and keeps us from being too bogged down in the here and now.

Paul sees these two key Christian principles abiding throughout our lives and the lives of all believers everywhere in every time. They abide alongside love. For Paul, love was not just an emotional feeling. It was an attitude of heart and mind that directed the actions and attitude of believers toward each other and the world around them. It was faith and hope acted out.

Of these three, Paul says that love is the greatest of the three. Why does Paul say this? I believe it is because love completes and fulfills the practice of faith and the reality of hope.

Love is the demonstration that faith is active in our lives, because love was the hallmark of the life of Jesus. When we love we are letting our faith in Christ demonstrate His love flowing through us. Our hope is for a world without sin, anger, tears, and heartbreak. In other words we hope for a world dominated by love. When we love now, we demonstrate the reality of hope in our hearts.

It is important what and in whom we believe. It is critical to have a true hope for our future with Christ. But love undergirds and validates both faith and hope. We cannot speak meaningfully about faith and hope unless we practice love.