1 Corinthians 13:13: faith, hope, and love
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest
of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV)
While faith, hope, and love all involve the entire inner person, each tends predominately
to involve one particular part of the inner person. While we base faith on the truth
of God's word, it involves more than mental assumption. Guilt, justification (correcting
or making right), and sanctification (purification) are all within the realm of responsibility,
will (volition), and actions. Thus, for faith in Christ to take away the penalty of our
sins, it must
be a faith that permeates our decisions and results in action.
When we translate the verb form of faith as believe, the reader often
misunderstands its meaning. The reader might better understand the translation with words
like trust, confide in, depend upon, or rely on. External
actions do not make us right with God, nor does believing facts about God. What applied
to our lives the atonement of Christ's sacrificial death to make us right with God was
our initial internal trust and dependence upon Christ that produces the right kind of living.
Hope is similar to faith. The Christian also bases hope on the truth of God's word.
People today tend to assign both believe and hope to the realm of uncertainty. We might
better understand hope by translating it as expect or anticipate.
Think of how small children react when a loving father comes home from work to meet
them. This is how we should be expectantly waiting for Christ to come back. If we are
not this anxious for Christ's return, it shows that we treasure the world more than Christ.
Genuine love also results in action. However, it should do so because it is our motive.
Christian love begins with the emotion resulting
from Christ's sacrificial life and death
for us, who are undeserving sinners. Curiosity,
ambition, indignation, as well as pride, hate,
greed, anger, and fear
can motivate people. Maybe sometimes other emotions are justified, but love should be
what is the primary motive for our actions. We should return God's love because of the
love He has shown us. We should also show
more concern for others than ourselves just as Christ did.