1 Corinthians 13:13 says that these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love, but why is it that these three stand fast? Why can these remain when other things fail… and why are they so important that they should be set apart as a top three?!
Join us as we discover why these are important, and what faith adds to the mix!
Powerful Trio… Faith, Hope, and Love!
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”—1 Corinthians 13:13
According to 1 Corinthians 13:13 there are three traits, three ways of being, that stand, even when others fall. These three are faith, hope, and love. With love standing as the greatest of them all, which is fitting since God Himself is love…
However, while each of these three things are in tune with God’s will and character individually, it is the way they work in tandem to flawlessly echo God’s heart that makes them a powerful trio!
Hope on its own is wonderful when it aligns with God. It pushes us onward toward the upward call of God, helping us to reach His perfect plans and desires for our lives. Yet, when combined with faith, such hope becomes more!
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”—Hebrews 11:1
Since faith is the substance of things hoped for, we surely desire that faith accompanies the hope we have so that that hope might manifest. And for faith to remain steadfast within us, there needs to be hope so we do not grow weary and thereby lose faith. And yet, this puzzle still misses one piece… love…
Faith without love, as told in 1 Corinthians 13—specifically 1 Corinthians 13:2—holds no true merit. Because in order to direct our faith properly… to understand and desire the true will of God… we require love. For it is the love of God in us for His heart, His people, His Kingdom, and even ourselves, that prompts us to use our faith toward that which is good.
Love is what prompts and inspires us to do what is beyond us in the natural, thus bringing our faith higher as we firmly place our hope in God and His perfect will!
Love works to bring hope. Love increase our faith. Our faith brings substance to what we hope for. And our hope provides determination of purpose to answer the call of God… to do His will. Each of the three is connected and it is in this Godly design that they remain. Even when other things fail…
Faith… Why Does it Remain?
Obviously, it is in tandem with love and hope that faith is at its best. But why is faith important? How can it remain when other things fail? And why does it rank as one of the top three things which remain in 1 Corinthians 13:13?
The word, faith, is found throughout the Word, commonly reaching near 400 uses within various translations. While given the length of the Word this may not seem unusual, it is far from insignificant… all the more so when we consider the word, love.
Love, the greatest out of faith, hope, and love… the very thing that answers all the Law and fulfills it… only finds mention approximately 500 times! 100 additional uses certainly is nothing to cast off as unimportant, but it is worth noting that they really are not too far apart. And in this we discover that faith must certainly be important in its own right, even if it is nothing without love…
However, this hardly answers the questions posed above…
Certainly it demonstrates how faith is significant, but word count by itself only gives us a vague sense of importance. To find the deeper worth and importance of faith we need to see faith in action, but also understand how God feels on the matter…
Many Scriptures are available to us, but the story of Jesus and the centurion found in both Matthew 8 and Luke 7 not only possesses the faith in action and the understanding of how God feels, but it shows us what true faith looks like. Not wishy-washy faith. But a firmness of faith that caused Jesus to say how He had not seen such faith prior to that moment during His life on earth!
“Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.’
“And Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’
“The centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, “Go,” and he goes; and to another, “Come,” and he comes; and to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.’
“When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’”—Matthew 8:5-10
Jesus, the God of all, saw the faith of the centurion and was pleased. How many of us could honestly possess that same level of faith? A faith that stands so bold, so firm, that action—that substance of hope—becomes truth… becomes reality.
“Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.’ And his servant was healed that same hour.”—Matthew 8:13
The centurion likely was moved toward action due to compassion and love for his servant. He likely even had hope within him that likewise prepared him to move forward. But it was his faith that spurred him to find Jesus. And, upon finding Him, to speak his request in full expectation of a breakthrough!
We may not know if the centurion was counted among the many who followed Jesus—who chose God—but his faith was powerful enough to heal! He did not doubt. He was not double minded. That is the kind of faith that when paired with hope and love. When set in motion by the Blood and power of Jesus. That changes things…
That is the kind of faith we need! And it is the kind of faith that can be found in God!
Stepping Out of the Boat
There is a choice set before all of us… one where we can step out of the boat like Peter, walking in faith upon the water!
Or we can stay in the boat… in the illusion of safety.
Jesus had 12 disciples, but out of them, only one tried to walk on the water with Jesus! Eleven chose to stay in the boat where their faith did not have to be tested or grown…
These men all followed Jesus, they had all seen miracles, and while one of them would eventually betray Jesus, none of them were lacking opportunity. None were without a background that could prompt action based on faith…
During this moment on the water it is easy for us to wonder why Peter was the only one who left the boat. And yet, we so often fail to do what Peter did. We have all been like the 11 who watched in awe, but failed to spur faith into action! But in the goodness of God, we, like the 11, have been given another chance!
Despite their not stepping out in faith at that moment in time, God still provided them all another chance to be used by Him, and ten of those eleven disciples took it. And while they may not have had another chance to literally step out of the boat and walk on the water, they each were able to step out of their place of safety! They were able to walk on what to them felt like a stormy sea… following the call and future God created for each of them!
Not one of us could honestly say that we have walked in faith daily, as faith is not always easy. Not one of us could say that we have never chosen to stay in the boat instead of walking on the waters in faith…
But God is not done with us yet!
Just as with those disciples who followed Him, we have been given another chance!
By stepping out of the boat today. By walking on the waters in faith. Placing our hope and love in Jesus. God will use us!
He will see our love, recognize our hope, and as He witnessed in the centurion… He will know our faith.
“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”—Matthew 25:21 & 23