faith, hope, and love

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“And now these three remain:  faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.”
— 1 Corinthians 13:13

Faith and hope are inherently tied together in the life of a Christian.  The Hebrew writer says “faith is being sure of what he hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  For the follower of Christ, the two cannot be separated.  Faith and hope live together and will die together.  Yes, faith and hope will die.  Like the gifts of prophecy and knowledge, when perfection comes faith and hope will be laid to rest in a big coffin marked “no longer needed.”

I remember how much I wanted a bicycle when I was little.  I didn’t know how to ride a bike, nor had I ever been on one, but I desperately hoped for one.  I was positive I’d enjoy it.  And I was pretty confident I’d be successful in learning to ride it.  Then one year for my birthday, I got my first bicycle.  It was incredible.  I finally had the bike I’d always wanted, and I could ride it.  On that day, I no longer hoped to get a bike, because I had one.  I no longer dreamed of riding a bike, because I was riding one.

But that bicycle had training wheels.  I was sure that in time I could learn to ride without those wheels — I mean they were way smaller than the others, how much could they really be helping me anyway?  I wanted nothing more than to ride like a big boy.  And after only a few weeks of bumps, bruises, and band-aids, I was a big boy.  I no longer needed training wheels.  Nor did I need faith to believe I could ride with only two wheels.  I was doing so every day.  And so, my hopes turned towards a BB gun.  And later a car.  And still later a paycheck.*

Today, I know how to shoot a gun.  I drive a stick every day.  I still ride a bike.  And I’ve received a lot of paychecks — not very big ones, but paychecks all the same.  I’ve always had faith my employer would give me a paycheck.  But once I received said paycheck, I no longer needed faith.  I had the cash in my own two hands.  Of course I hoped and confidently expected there would be another check in two weeks.  But when I held that one in my hands, faith and hope again disappeared.

“Hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?
…But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

— Romans 8:24-25

It’s hard for us to imagine a time in which we’ll have no faith.  It’s difficult for us to envision hoping for absolutely nothing.  Because every time our faith is realized on this earth, we immediately put it in something else.  Every time we gain that which we hope for, we begin hoping for the next item, model, or experience.

But when the kingdom comes in its fullness, we’ll possess all we could ever hope for.  We will have received what is the end of our faith.  We’ll be glorified with God in heaven, and no faith or hope will be required.  We will have received all that is of value.  It’s impossible to be certain of what we don’t see, when we’re standing face to face with it.

Faith and hope will cease to exist, and we should be exceedingly glad this is the case.  But love remains.  It always will.  That’s why love is the greatest of these three.  Tongues and prophecy, knowledge and evangelism, leadership and teaching, faith and hope — all will disappear when perfection comes, never to be seen again in heaven or on earth.

But love… there will be love.  And I’m gonna’ take my shoes off and run around in it like it’s the greenest and most lush grass I’ve ever seen.  And I’ll never hope for another thing.

* Actually, this is misleading.  I sound confident my desire for a car came before my desire for a paycheck, but I’m not sure this was the case.  You know it’s a vicious cycle for a teenager.  He wants a job, so he can save enough cash to buy a car and pay for insurance and gas.  But he needs a car so he can go to work.  What’s a guy to do?  Nevertheless, while I’m not sure which one I wanted first, I am positive the paycheck came long before the car.

**This post is the last in a series on love from chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians.  You can find other posts here:

  • monkey love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
  • i want out (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
  • the God behind tinted windows (1 Corinthians 13:8-12)
  • faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13)
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    Filed under love

    9 responses to “faith, hope, and love

    1. This was very encouraging. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
      – Amanda

    2. the Greek word for “hope” in Hebrews 11:1 means “confident expectation.” In other words, we KNOW we are getting it, we are just waiting for it to come — kind of like an inheritance, we’ve received the letter saying we are getting it, we just have to wait for the lawyers to get around sending the check. in our language today hope means a “wishing for.” we don’t know if we will get it or not, we are just wishing that we will. that is the important difference between God and man’s hope. God’s hope is a done deal. *hugs*

      • trapper, i was planning on posting on this next week, though my thoughts are a little different than yours.

        i remember in greek class studying the word ‘elpis,’ or something like that. and i can’t tell you how many times i’ve heard sermons that distinguished between biblical hope and our word today. and i’ll agree completely that the word doesn’t mean “wish,” but something with greater confidence — something on which we base current decisions, and from which we receive incentive to live or act or do.

        but i don’t understand really why we so stress the difference. because they still used the word ‘hope’ for a confident expectation of something that may not actually come to fruition… the idea of putting your hope in that which is other than God. it’s the same word hope — we’re merely saying this hope is misplaced and will disappoint us.

        to me, it seems we should stress not that our word hope is different than theirs, but that we ought to make sure that in which we hope is indeed that which should be our incentive for living.

        what are your thoughts?

    3. Ike

      The Gospel is the “deep thing” of Christianity! Eschatology and the book of Revelation will be mastered at the second coming, but our pursuit of the knowledge of the Gospel will continue on throughout eternity. The greatest of Christians will never master the Gospel, but every true Christian will be mastered by it!

    4. I agree, I can’t imagine a home without faith. Whenever I become Kingdom focused, I sit in awe of what God has actually promised us about our everlasting life. No more faith, just love. That’s amazing when you really think about it.

    5. Pingback: men are from mars… | aliens and strangers

    6. Abby L

      I’ve never thought of it this way before… thank you! That’s really cool.

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