“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (I Cor. 13:13).
Paul had been discussing, in I Corinthians 13, some of the miraculous signs that were to vanish away as God’s revelation, as given to Paul, became complete (Col.1:25). But faith, hope and charity, he declared, would abide as a triune evidence of true Christianity.
These three are all we need in the present “dispensation of the grace of God.” Any church where faith, hope and charity are found in abundant measure is a “full” church. It may have but a few members, but what greater blessing could it wish for than faith, hope and the love of God in its fellowship?
Faith, hope and charity are a triunity often referred to in Paul’s epistles. Each is of basic importance in its way, and none can exist without the other two.
Faith is of primary importance. “Without faith it is impossible to please him [speaking of God].” (Heb 11:6). How can there be hope and charity without faith?
Hope holds the central place among the three. Hope in the Bible is more than a wish; it is the opposite of despair, an eager anticipation of blessings to come. Hope is the Christian’s experience, his living with eternity’s glory in view.
Charity is the crowning virtue of the three; it is the fruit of faith and hope, and is greatest in the sense that it is “the bond of perfectness.” Moreover, God’s love is eternal. Some day, for every true believer, “faith will vanish into sight; hope be emptied in delight,” and charity will reign supreme. (These words are found in the hymn Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost by Christopher Wordsworth.)
May God help us, in our fellowship with each other, to evidence a full measure of faith, hope and Charity.