13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Three words; Faith, Hope, and Love. Three words that impact every person’s life. Three words that often mean different things to different people. As a Christian what should these word mean to you?
Faith is not necessarily a religious term even atheists have faith that the person driving on the other side of the road won’t cross the centerline and hit them. Even in Christianity there are types of faith that don’t lend themselves to true belief.
Emotional faith is based on feelings, and when the feelings are gone so is the faith. Intellectual faith is based on knowledge without application. There is a disconnect between the head and the heart. True faith is based on the conviction that God has revealed himself, the understanding that we must personally accept His gift, and the confidence that what He says is true.
Hope looks to the future. Unbelievers only have hope in this world, and anything beyond is unknown to them. Believers have a hope that God’s purpose is being worked out in history. Psalm 78:7 says “That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments; “. We can look to what God has done in the past to see that He is faithful to His word, and will have a glorious future waiting for us at our deaths.
The word love has been mightily abused in our society. The Greek has three words translated “love”. Eros which is a physical love, (it is where we get the word “erotic”) does not appear in the bible. Philo is another word which means brotherly love. And finally Agape’ which means unconditional love. Agape’ is the term used to describe God’s love, and the love we should have toward others.
Paul tells us the greatest of these is the correct kind of love. We must exhibit agape’ love to others. Not by condoning their sins, but by showing a path away from them, through the agape’ Christ has shown us.