"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13).
As we continue to examine some of the characteristics of a disciple of Christ, let’s next consider the three found in the verse above.
To be sure, each is essential to our success. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is a vital part of the Christian journey and cannot be overstated. True faith is unwavering and keeps us from being “tossed to and fro” throughout the adventures of life. We cannot even be saved without faith!
"For by grace you have been saved through faith . . . " (Ephesians 2:8).
Faith is the channel through which grace flows. It is what gives us the ability to stand (2 Corinthians 1:24) regardless of what is happening around us. The voice of faith leads the believer to do what may seem impossible in a world of chaos and sin. Faith follows even when it does not understand and is unable to see or know where it leads.
So much could be written about the topic of faith that I will not even attempt to wax long. What is relative to this discourse is how faith, hope, and love are intricately woven together. Faith says and does something; hope feels something; love unites the two in order to accomplish the will of God.
Hope is the anchor of our soul (mind, will, emotions) and without an anchor, we are prone to wander aimlessly through life. However, hope is also fundamental to faith.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).
It is clearly evident that without hope it is impossible to have faith; without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
As God spoke the light into existence, He did so full of faith. The Lord knew that darkness would be overcome when He spoke. The same is true regarding all that He has created. When faith speaks things happen, whether or not the result is immediately visible to the human eye.
Jesus made reference to this “God-kind” of faith in Mark 11:22. A correct interpretation of the verse would read: “Have faith of God.”
It is one thing to say we have faith in God; it is quite another to have the faith of God.
And what is it that motivates this quality of faith?
The Apostle Paul wrote of faith that works by or through love. Consider: the one motivation we see demonstrated by God is that of love. This is the reason behind the original creation and is the whole reason that God sent His Son to redeem and restore what had been lost through the sin of man (John 3:16). Love is the driving force behind everything God does. Even His chastening is the result of His great love.
Now we see how these three—faith, hope, and love—are pillars of Christianity. Without hope we cannot have faith. Without faith we cannot please God. The love of God is the motivation that drives faith.
One more point: God does not leave us relying on our own ability to love. Rather, He sent His Spirit to fill our lives and pour His love into our hearts.
"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" (Romans 5:5).