Faith, Hope, Love – Part 3

They go together.  Faith and hope appear together in nine New Testament verses (Romans 5:2; 1 Corinthians 13:13; 2 Corinthians 10:15; Galatians 5:5; Colossians 1:23; 1Thessalonians 1:3; 5:8; Hebrews 11;1; 1 Peter 1:21).  Faith and love appear together in eighteen New Testament verses (2 Corinthians 8:7; Galatians 2:20; 5:6; 5:22; Ephesians 1:15; 3:17 6:23; Colossians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 5:8 1 Timothy 1:14; 6:10; 6:11; 2 Timothy 1:13; Titus 3:15; Philemon 1:15; James 2:5; Revelation 1:5). Hope and love (or charity) appear together in six New Testament verses (Luke 6:35; Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 13:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:16).  The trio appears together in nine New Testament passages (Romans 5:1-5; 1 Corinthians 13:13; Galatians 5:5-6; Ephesians 4:2-5; Colossians 1:4-5, 8; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 5:8; Hebrews 6:10-12; 1 Peter 1:3-8).

The human body needs air, water, and food to live; Even so, the Christian needs faith, hope, and love.  These are the essentials to spiritual life.  Eliminate them and one dies spiritually.

The words are both commonly used and commonly misused and misunderstood.  The world frequently uses these terms differently than how the Bible uses these same terms.  Clarification is in order.

Hope

1.  Some “hope” for that which they have no right to expect.  They hope to go to heaven, but they haven’t complied with God’s conditions for pardon.

Hope is the anchor of the soul which keeps us steadfast and sure while the billows roll (Hebrews 6:18).   The basis of the Christian’s hope is God and His trustworthiness (Hebrews 6:17-18; Titus 1:1-2; 2 Timothy 1:12).  The object of that hope is eternal life in heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:8; Titus 1:2).  Yet, God has set forth what we’re to do in order to be in heaven in the end.  Thus, if we truly believe in what he says, then we should understand that we have no legitimate basis for hope if we haven’t submitted to his terms.  “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, He cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).

Some think, “Yes, God did say what He did.  However, when I stand before the Judge in the end, He’ll let me in anyway.”  Even some preachers have “toyed with the idea that perhaps God could save sinners at judgment by extending a special sort of ‘clemency’ which would supersede His law” (Faith and Knowledge, p. 21).  Mac Deaver has replied, “God is above law in the sense that (1) he can change law or cancel law when the doing of such does not cause God to in any way incriminate himself (he took the law of Moses out of the way – Colossians 2:14), but God is not above his own law in the sense that (2) He can fail to uphold the integrity of that law (Hebrews 6:18; Titus 1:2; cf. 2 Timothy 2:13).  If God’s law says that a certain group of people will be lost, nothing can prevent that from occurring” (ibid, p. 22).  Someone objects, “You’re limiting God!”  Yes, I am limiting God to His word.  He does not lie!  He means what He says!  Don’t you believe Him?  I do!

2.  Some use the term “hope” as a mere wish.  They’d like something to occur, but they don’t really expect it to occur.

Biblically, hope is more than this.  It is defined as “favorable and confident expectation” (Vine’s).  John tells us that we can know that we have eternal life (1 John 5:13).  If we believe the Bible, then we should have confidence in what it says.  It should be at least possible for us to examine ourselves honestly and determine whether it is proper for us to have hope or not.  We need to heed 2 Corinthians 13:5, which reads “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves.”  Galatians 6:4 instructs “‘let each one examine his own work…”  This we should do, and do regularly.

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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