Faith, Hope and Love

Hebrews chapter 11 is known as the chapter of faith.  Faith is defined in the first verse.  Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is a firm persuasion – a conviction.  Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We observe the wonders of creation and receive the word of God and are persuaded of the truths that are revealed.  We must have faith. Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  We are saved through faith.  Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” We conduct our lives in faith.  2 Corinthians 5:6-7 “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight.” We conclude that faith is of great importance in our lives.

But love is also important.  First Corinthians chapter 13 is known as the chapter of love.  There the apostle Paul describes the importance of love; without love, we are just a big noise – like a loud trumpet or a clanging gong.  Even though we have great faith so that we could remove mountains, without love we are nothing.  Though we have great works and admirable accomplishments, if we don’t have love it profits us nothing.  Then in the chapter Paul describes what love is and what love is not.  Love is the first or greatest commandment. Mark 12:29-31 “Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.  And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’” God is described as love.  1 John 4:16 “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”  We conclude that love is of great importance in our lives.

But hope is also important.  Hope is a favorable and confident expectation in the fulfillment of God’s promises.  Romans 8:22-25 “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 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.”  We are saved in hope.  With perseverance we eagerly await our final redemption. We conclude that hope is of great importance in our lives.

Faith, hope and love are three great pillars in the life of a Christian.  We need all three.  At the end of the love chapter, we have this conclusion.  1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  The apostle Paul also wrote a letter to the church in Thessalonica.  Near the beginning of the letter, he writes the following.  1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 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.”  Paul continually prayed for the church in Thessalonica and remembered their work, labor and patience.  But their work, labor and patience were a result of their faith, love and hope.

Paul remembered their “work of faith”.  This means that they had obvious actions which were motivated by their belief in God and His promises.  Work is an intended activity that is accomplished through the will.  James writes about faith and works.  James 2:14-18 “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” We must have a working faith – a faith that is demonstrated through how we live and act.

Paul then remembered their “labor of love”. It is a labor motivated by love. I suppose one of the best examples of a labor of love is that of Jacob when He came to live with his uncle Laban.  Genesis 29:15, 18, 20 “Then Laban said to Jacob, ‘Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what should your wages be?’” “Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, ‘I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.’” “So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.” Jacob’s seven year service for Rachel was a labor of love. He didn’t concentrate on the work or labor but on the love he had for Rachel that motivated his labor. In the same way, our service to God and one another should be a labor of love.  We shouldn’t concentrate on the work we do, but instead concentrate on demonstrating our love.

Paul then remembered their “patience of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ”. It is patience motivated by hope.  Again in Romans 8:25 “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”  When our hope in the promises of God is strong, we have patience and perseverance.  Because of our hope, we continue our work of faith and labor of love without stopping or giving up.

I encourage you to be seen for your “work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father” (1 Thessalonians 1:3).  God sees and knows what you do.  Faith, hope and love – these three will impact your life.

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