Scripture: I Corinthians 13:13
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
The apostle Paul wrote, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13:13) Faith, hope and love are the three most important things that we must keep in our lives as Christians. We must always believe, we must never lose hope and we must always live in love. Love is the greatest of the three because love abides forever.
Love, faith and hope are the works of the Triune God in our lives. God pours out His love in our hearts (Rom 5:5). Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2) and the Holy Spirit makes us abound in hope by His power (Rom 15:13). Just like God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are one; love, faith and love agree as one.
Love is greater than faith and hope because love is the source of faith and hope. The apostle Paul wrote, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” (Gal 5:6) and “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom 5:5) Just like the sun produces light and heat, love produces faith and hope.
The apostle John wrote, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18) When we have love, we will have no fear in our lives. And when we have no fear, we will believe that all things are possible for us (1 Cor 13:7). If our love is not perfect, we will believe that some things are possible for us but some things are impossible for us. However, if our love is perfect, we will believe that nothing is impossible for us.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom 5:5) When we have the love of God in our heart, we will have hope and that hope will not disappoint us. We will have hope for things that we do not see and we will eagerly wait for it with perseverance because they will surely come to pass (Rom 8:25).
Love is the source of hope and faith. But, is there any relationship between hope and faith? In the book of Hebrews it is written that faith is the substance of things hoped for (Heb 11:1). To have faith, we must first have hope. We can only believe if we have a positive outlook of the future. Before we know that a certain thing will surely happen, we must first know that it is possible to happen.
We can see love, hope and faith in action in the following incident :
“When they (Jesus Peter, James and John) had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me. And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.” (Mat 17:14-18)
A certain son an epileptic and was demon possessed. He did not feel love in his life. His father was in a hopeless situation because no one could cure him, including Jesus’ disciples. Jesus’ disciples had no faith to cure the epileptic although they had been given power to heal the sick and to cast out demons. So, it was a loveless, hopeless and faithless situation. Then Jesus came, showing love for the son, giving hope to his father and exercising faith to cast out the demon. He displayed all the three together in that situation.