Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Faith, Hope, and Charity

Meditation for the week of January 10, 2010

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Thessalonians1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father.

Faith, hope and charity (or love) are three cornerstone characteristics of true Christians.  I have noticed that girls are often given these characteristics as names, but boys are not.  I have wondered if that is because it is easier for women to demonstrate these virtues than men.  Or do men consider these virtues to be weaknesses rather than strengths?

How do we understand these terms?  It is interesting that faith is associated with work, love with labor and hope with patience (endurance or firmness of purpose).  Faith is depending on or trusting in promises and thus in the person or organization making the promise.   Faith is a heart matter, but faith is seen by what we do.  If we have faith in a bank, we put our money on deposit there.  If we have faith in a doctor, we show it by letting Him diagnose and treat our diseases.  James says, “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works (James 2:18).

Why is labor associated with love or charity?  Likely because love will motivate a person to do almost anything.  It motivated the Lord to die for us.  Love is something this world has a lot of trouble being real about.  John says that we love because we are loved (1 John 4:19). Our love is usually a response.  God’s love is offered unconditionally, but people generally do not have that same capacity.  But even though our love may turn out to be conditional, when we do love someone or something, we will do almost anything for that cause or person.  Most of us would do almost anything for our children and for our spouses.  Love is a great motivator.

Hope is associated with patience or with the willingness to endure.  Hope is something we all need when we get up in the morning and when we go to bed at night..  The hope I am talking about is the Biblical promise of a better future.  Our hope is associated with the Lord’s return. Christians don’t hope to be saved, they know they are saved by trusting in the Lord and in His suffering for our sins.  But while Christians don’t hope to be saved, we who are saved have hope.  Unbelievers have “no hope (Ephesians 2:12).”  Believing in the promise of the Lord’s return gives us something to anticipate with joy.   It blesses us, it purifies us, it leaves us concerned about our unsaved friends and relatives.  The Lord’s return keeps our present and our future in the proper perspective. 

We who have faith have pleased God (Hebrews 11:6).  We get to experience a love from which we can never be separated (Romans 8:39).  And each day we live with the constant hope that  today will be the day when we the Lord takes us to the home he has prepared for us (John 14:1-3).

Faith, hope and charity make life worth living.  

Bruce Collins

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