"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." 1 Corinthians 13:13
Is it not curious why the apostle Paul says of the three, namely, faith, hope and love that love is the greatest?
Let us look into these three Christian graces.
Concerning faith we know that without it we can not please God according to Hebrews 11:6 "For without faith it is impossible to please God..." and that to be justified and to have peace with God we must have faith (Romans 5:1) "Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God."
How can love be greater than faith seeing that without faith we can not please God and that without faith we can not be justified and so declared righteous before a holy God?
If it were not for this thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians we might conclude after reading Hebrews 11, the great hall of faith chapter, that faith and not love is the greatest.
Concerning faith we also know that we live, as the apostle Paul affirmed in Galatians 2:20 by faith "I'am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I LIVE; yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life that I now live I live by THE FAITH of the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." Habakuk says "The just shall live by faith."
With all this in mind how could Paul say that love is greater that faith? Have you ever contemplated this before?
Much more could be said about faith but let us look briefly now at hope. The Greek word for hope is elpis and means an expectation of what is sure or certain so that faith and hope are closely related for Christ is the object of our faith as well as our hope but so it can be said of our love. Now as believers we are "looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" Titus 2:13 When the Lord returns and we are forever with the bridegroom shall we have reason to hope any more?
The answer is no and so will we not have any reason for faith for "faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 What a man sees why doth he yet hope for? We shall have no reason for faith for we shall see Jesus face to face but what about love? The Bible says faith works by love and in 1 Corinthians 13 we have a list of characteristics describing love namely that makes it the choicest flower because love is patient and kind and does not
Love does not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Love will be with us in heaven when faith and hope have left us because Jesus will always love us as his cherished bride.
The Lord says: ‘I will betroth thee unto me for ever, in loving kindness and in mercies.’ Hos 2: 19. We love God because he first loved us and because God is eternal his love will always be in us and God's love never will have an end toward us. Our loving him is from his loving us and so we shall forever love him who gave himself for us and so we read in John 3:16 for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
In this manner God demonstrated his love to his elect people (the world). What manner? By giving his son. There could be no greater sacrifice that giving his son to a sinful and undeserving world. Thus he gave the greatest gift to the world, namely, His son to redeem a people for himself that they might have everlasting life.
This is truly a great demonstration of why love is the greatest of these three faith and hope and love.
Thomas Watson the a Puritan preacher expressed it best by explaining why love is so superior: "Love is the only grace that shall live with us in heaven. In heaven we shall need no repentance, because we shall have no sin; no faith, because we shall see God face to face; but love to God shall abide for ever. ‘Love never faileth.’ 1 Cor 13: 8. How should we nourish this grace which shall outlive all the graces, and run parallel with eternity!"
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching.
See his videos on http://www.youtube.com Type LAStreetPreacher in the search bar. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.