Why did Paul end this eloquent description of love with this statement? The list he provided of perpetually provided spiritual gifts are faith, hope, and love. The writer had already presented a crash course in those gifts which are either temporary or will end after our time on earth. Paul wants the reader to know that there are three gifts from God that will last forever.
Faith is a gift from Jesus Himself (He. 12:2). Hebrews states that faith is the assurance of things hoped for (11:1). In other words, faith feeds hope. Hope springs from the bedrock of faith. Jesus described faith in Him as the Rock upon which He would build His church, (Mt. 16:13-20) and that flesh and blood (Peter’s own five senses) had not revealed such faith to Peter, but God had provided the faith to enlighten Peter’s heart, recognizing Jesus as the Son of the Living God. Jesus was the fulfillment of the hope of Israel – the literal substance of things hoped for! Faith is also exercised in the conviction about things unseen. Again, the writer of Hebrews states that everything that was made (that we can experience personally) were constructed from what is invisible – referring to the Genesis account of God speaking things into existence. The writer also states that it is impossible to please God except through faith.
Hope is the exercise of faith in a person’s life experience. Solomon described this exercise: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not lean on your own understanding of things (your experience or senses), but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” (3:5-6) Trust is faith in action. Trusting God seems to be difficult for many people even though they exercise trust countless times each day. We demonstrate trust when: we trust builders and electricians to build homes correctly; we trust the wiring in our homes to turn our lights on without burning down the house; we trust the pilot and the plane to get us to our destination; we trust other people not to plow into us on the highway; we trust manufacturers to supply untainted foods and medicines to us. Paul taught the church in Rome that, “hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Ro. 8:24-25) He articulated the same precept to the Corinthians: “…we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Co. 4:18)
Love is the outcome of faith and hope as it is exercised through the conduit of our lives to God and to each other. This is why Paul spent so much time explaining the precept of love. He articulated the evidences of recognizing genuine, eternal, spiritual love. These qualities about love describe God Himself, for God IS love. (I Jn. 4:8) Jesus described the evidence of a real disciple of His way is seen in how they love each other. (Jn. 13:35) Our treatment of each other will entice the world for relationships that are transparent, full of mercy and truth. The love of a husband and wife will demonstrate to the world a picture of God’s love for the church. (Ep. 5:22-33) The greatest demonstration of love was shown through the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross as an act of redemption for the sins of mankind. He quite literally paid the penalty for our sins. (Jn. 3:16) Love gives… and gives… and gives…
Faith, hope, and love will be eternally existent and we will appreciate and enjoy their benefits in heaven as we exercise them perpetually to God and each other.
I believe in you and hope for the best in your life…
With great love,