Why is love the greatest of the three? The three that are mentioned – faith, hope and love – is an impressive group of beliefs in which to aspire. They are all found in perfection in our Lord Jesus Christ. We will look at each in order to make the needed comparison between them and to be able to answer our question: “Why is love the greatest of the three?”
FAITH. What is faith? If faith is defined as taking God at His word, then it becomes the initial step of one’s relationship with God. “For by Grace you have been saved through faith …it is the gift of God.” Are we born with the necessary faith to be saved? According to the word of God, the believer is granted (given a gift of, presented with) the faith to believe in Him, for the sake of Christ. This faith grows and matures with the believer’s willingness to submit to the word of God in all aspects of life. Therefore, after the initial step of faith we must build on the foundation of the faith that God gives us. Thus the Apostle Paul records in Romans 1:17 “The just shall live by faith.”
HOPE. Faith becomes the foundation of hope. As children, the faith or trust that we have in those who raise us grows with our knowledge of who they are. With each step of faith, we establish hope in expectation of how they will treat us. This example is, of course, one of a sincere and caring guardian and this writer knows that parents are not perfect. However, in our God we can have total and perfect hope because He is always faithful.
So then, as believers in Christ, we are a people of hope. For the calling that we received from God brings us hope. (Ephesians 1:18) “…that you may know what is the hope of His calling.” Our Christ, Who is in us, is the “hope of glory.” Not only this, but we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, grown inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”
Faith in God gives us the eyes to see and apprehend the hope that the Apostle Paul in his epistles sets before us. Our God is the God of hope, desiring that you abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, which comes through the patience and comfort of the scriptures. Note the following scriptures and make your own list concerning hope:
Titus 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; Titus 1:2, 3:7; Romans 5:2; Colossians 1:23; Colossians 1:5
At one time “we were without hope” but now can “rejoice in hope.” I pray that as believers we can marvel in all that faith sets before us in hope!
This returns us to the question, “Why is love the greatest of the three?” 1 Corinthians 13:13. Does the scripture declare God to be faith? No. However He exercised faith.Our Lord Jesus Christ also is declared to have faith. Note: Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16, 2:20, 3:22; Ephesians 3:12; Philippians 3:9. Does the scripture declare God to be hope? No. However in both testaments He is the OBJECT of the believer’s hope.
LOVE. The greatest of the three is love. Why is this? Because “God is love.” 1 John 4:16
Love is never static but is always acting. Therefore God so loved that He gave the Son of His love, manifesting this love toward sinners in the death of His Son, that man could be conciliated to God and thus be saved in Christ’s life.
It is in Christ that believers learn to love as God loves both in character and in action. Could this be the ultimate conformity to the image of God’s Son?
Think on the first three verses of 1 Corinthians 13! One can have all faith, yet without love what are you? One could give away all His possessions and even His own body, but without love what benefit is there?
Are you enjoying the grace that is given to those who are loving our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption?
Is the epistle to the Ephesians a reality to you both in teaching and practice?
If it is, you are learning to love in incorruption. Notice verse twenty-three of Paul’s benediction, “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith from God, the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” God the Father and our Lord are still and always loving us.
Love is the greatest because “GOD IS LOVE.” And, because He is love and because He loves us, He gives us faith to believe and then to build on so that can have hope in Him. He is a wonderful Father.
Finally, as we look down the eons toward the consummation of all, when God is all in all, will it be said of us that WE ARE LOVE?