The Greatest of These
“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Have you ever wondered why love is the greatest? Let’s consider these three which are the essence of the human response to an almighty Creator God.
Faith is the foundation. If a person does not believe that God exists, he will go no further. Faith begins with believing in the existence of an “invisible” God who created all that we can see and not see (Hebrews 11:1-3, 6). God is real and has chosen to reveal Himself to the sons of men in various ways and at different times. The most significant revelation was when God came in the person of Jesus, the Son. But simply believing in the existence of God is not faith. Belief elevates itself to faith when a person begins to accept the word of God as truth and follow it in his life. The believer begins to change and walk with God. Trust develops. The individual places their life, the now and the future, in the hands of this benevolent and holy God.
This brings us to hope, a living hope (1 Peter 1:3). Through faith in God and belief that His word and promises are true, hope flourishes. God has made promises of great reward and eternal life for those men and women who are faithful through life. This hope is solidified by belief in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Now for love. As a person begins to understand what this God is offering them and to grasp the love which moved Him to send His Son to obtain it by coming in the likeness of men and submitting to death on a cross, the flame of love is lit in the person’s heart. Love is the humble response. It is no coincidence that Jesus affirmed the foremost commandment to be: “...you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart...” (Mark 12:29-30). This love is not something we manufacture but is a natural outgrowth of faith and hope. Then we note John’s observation that “...God is love.” (1 John 4:8). When an individual begins to return God’s love to Him and to love others, he becomes more and more like God. Thus, love is the greatest!