The Gifts Part 78
1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
There is much to love about the word of God. One of the things I personally cherish most about the Bible is the simplicity, with which it is presented, wherein even a child could understand its meaning, while simultaneously being so layered in profundity that it challenges even the most astute and intellectual of minds.
Via the word of God, we receive direction for our lives, and come to understand the purpose of past events, the meaning of present events, and even get a glimpse into what the future holds. The Bible is limitless in the light that it puts forth, the understanding it makes available, and the knowledge that it provides to the children of God. Though the world might mock and scoff, though those who are perishing might consider the Bible and the message of the cross foolishness, to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
We cannot live with the expectation that those around us will ever understand the deeper things of God as long as they remain in darkness. Try as one might to explain the power of God, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the presence of Christ in one’s heart to the natural man, he cannot receive these things, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. As such, our duty as believers and bondservants of Christ is not to explain the mysteries of the spiritual to the unbeliever, it is not to begin dissecting bowls, and plagues, and trumpets, or attempting to identify the beast of Revelation, our duty is to present the message of the cross, the message of repentance, and the person of Jesus to them, in the love that ought to be characteristic of every believer.
I mention this only because I’ve gotten an inordinate amount of mail on the topic, wherein certain individuals with the best of intentions sat down with their unsaved kin and began to tell them of end time prophecy and the rise of the Antichrist. We can’t put the cart before the horse, nor can we draw water before we have an empty vessel to put it in. Knowing that the natural man can neither receive, know or understand these things because they are spiritually discerned, our chief duty is to point the way to the One that can renew their mind and heart, that can transform them to the point that they too will begin to discern spiritually.
This last verse in the thirteenth chapter of first Corinthians is a succinct lesson in what God desires His servants to know concerning His values, those often overlooked virtues that are necessary for our sanctification and happiness.
Faith, hope and love, these are three evident attributes in every individual that dwells in Christ. The absence of any of these three attributes or virtues will inevitably impair one’s spiritual journey sooner or later. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a healthy, vibrant, power filled Christian life without these three godly attributes. If we have no faith, then we have no Gospel, and we have no Savior. If we have no hope, then we have no life to come, no inheritance, and no peace concerning the finality of this present life on earth. If we have no love, then we have nothing in our hearts that resembles God.
By faith we are saved, by hope we do not fear for tomorrow, and by love we forget about ourselves. If faith and hope are for our own benefit, for our own edification, for our own comfort, love is for the benefit, edification and comfort of those around us. Love seeks out the broken hearts; love seeks out those who are hurting and gives of itself unconditionally. Love places itself in the service of Christ, and whatever Christ may ask of it, love does it without complaint or the expectation of remuneration.
Through love we know more of God than through all the other gifts that are available to us. Faith and hope bring us to Him, but love allows us to know His heart because God is love. Because God is love, it is also love that motivates Him. Love compelled God to send His Son Jesus, and love compelled Jesus to be born in a manger in Bethlehem, and die hanging on a cross on Golgotha. Love, to this day, compels God to call out to those who would hear, to plead with those headed toward destruction, to reveal His grace to mankind, and offer a means by which fallen man can be reconciled unto Him.
Much and more could be said about these three great pillars of the heart, and though we might possess all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, if these three are not evident in our lives, we are still lacking and incomplete. Faith sanctifies us, hope makes us resilient, and love gives us joy. Faith receives and possesses, love gives, and hope waits patiently. Faith strengthens the heart, love makes the heart feel, and hope expands it. Faith clings to that which it has received, love gives that which it has received, and hope lays claim to that which it has not yet received. Faith allows us to overcome the world, love to serve, and hope to deny the things of the world.
Although they might seem at odds with each other at times, faith, hope and love work in concert, growing us, molding us, chiseling us into becoming more like Jesus every day.
Faith ceases its labors when we come to possess that which we desired; hope ceases its labors when we have come into the fullness of that which was promised; love however never ceases for god Himself is love.
May we have love in abundance, and do all that we do as unto God out of love, for love continues its journey long after duty has expended its resources.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.