Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Faith, Hope, Charity!

1 Corinthians 13:13  And now abide faith, hope, love (charity), these three; but the greatest of these is love (charity).


Permanent Gifts

The permanent gifts of the Spirit are faith, hope and charity.  The greatest of these gifts is love or charity.  This is the love that God had for the world when He gave His Son to be the substitutionary sacrifice for sin.  Notice that for God, charity is natural. For men, it is a gift, which implies that it is not a natural part of our make-up.  We know a lot about the love of friends, and the erotic love of romance and the love of things.  But how much do we know about a love that is not self-centered but is other-centered?



The Biblical description of  faith is found in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  The Net Bible translates this, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.”  Faith in the Bible is not a leap in the dark.  It is the willingness to believe the promises of God even when the promises of God make no sense.  Faith in the promises of God is based on sound reasoning.  For example, because the promises that God has made in the past with regard to the first coming of the Lord have been fulfilled, we believe that God will fulfill His promises with regard to eternal life and with regard to the Lord’s second coming.   That confidence in the future is called hope and is based on faith in the Lord.


The Biblical description of hope is found in Romans 8:24-25, “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”  Hope always has to do with confidence (faith)  in future promises.  The  future that God offers is always better than the present.  Some preachers say that we have our best life now, but the Bible says that the best life for the Christian is still to come.  Hope in the Bible normally has to do with the blessings associated with the Lord’s second coming.


Love or charity is described and defined for us in John 15:12, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”  We get further instruction on this kind of love from Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Wow!  Do I have this grace in my life?  Would I lay down my life for my friends?  Christ not only laid down his life for His friends, He laid down His life for His enemies.  Unfortunately,  most of them will be condemned eternally because they won’t believe on Him (John 3:18).  He loved His enemies, but those who remain enemies after the Lord has offered them His love, obviously do not love Him.


1 Thessalonians 1:3 mentions these gifts of the Spirit.  “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.”  When we have faith, we will manifest it by works.  When we have love, labor will be involved—it will be costly.  When we have hope, we will manifest that by patient endurance. 


Abiding In Him

We are told in John 15 that apart from Christ we can do nothing.  Judas did not abide in the vine.  Israel as a nation did not abide in the vine, but disciples are to abide in the vine.  My understanding of this passage is that we abide in the vine by keeping the Lord’s commandment to love one another as the Lord loved us.  No wonder I feel so alone and weak at times since I confess I have never loved as Christ  loved me.  There is no way apart from the enabling Spirit of the Lord that anyone could honestly say that they have measured up to this standard.  But we should want to measure up. 



1 Corinthians 13 makes it clear that we don’t have “all faith”.  Neither do we always live for the future so hope is not always what motivates us.  Obviously, we have not consistently had the love or charity that the Lord had for sinners.   I am glad that the Lord is merciful to sinners.  He didn’t die for the righteous or for the good.  He died for sinners.  Which means He died for me.  And now He is trying to make me more like Him.  He has His work cut out.


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of June 7, 2015

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