Faith, Hope, Love
Main scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3: “Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father."
God’s word is truly alive and manifesting itself the more it’s read. I am slowly understanding the meaning of faith, hope, and love:
When you have faith it moves you to produce work, showing evidence of your obedience to God; when you have love it motivates you to labor for God in His kingdom and for individuals with sincerity; when you have hope it inspires you to endure through all things because you know the end goal of your toils in this life. These are the three major and important characteristics of the Christian. It supersedes speaking in tongues, prophesying, and laying hands on people. Out of these three love is the greatest because it never ceases. Our faith will one day be sight, and our hope will one day be obtained. What, therefore, would be the point in still having faith in something we now see and hope in something we now have? It’s the reason for which the apostle Paul wrote, “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love — but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Notice, too, that these characteristics are ones of action: work, labor, endurance.
Work is from the Greek word ergon, which means “an act, deed, thing done; the course of conduct which springs from faith.”
Labor is from kopos, which means “intense labor united with trouble, toil. the labor to which love prompts, and which voluntarily assumes and endures trouble and pains for the salvation of others.”
Endurance is from hypomone which means, “a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.”
These are verbs physically done and not verbally spoken. We must move. As a result, the concept of “faith alone” is not of sound doctrine. Faith does not stand by itself but is coupled with work—coupled with action.
The Christian cannot say, “I have faith in God,” yet show no evidence of his statement. What are we doing that shows God we have faith? Abraham submitted to God in obedience and did what He asked him; as a result, “it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called “the friend of God” (Genesis 15:6; Isaiah 41:8).
We cannot also say, “I love God,” but show no signs of labor of it. God gave His Son because He loved (Romans 8:32). The Son labored through His suffering for humankind because He loved. He gave His life for His friends (John 15:13). Paul and the other partners of the gospel labored under hardships for the sake of the churches of Christ (1 Thessalonians 2:9).
Finally, we must not say, “I have hope in God,” but do not endure and trust in Him in the midst of trials and tribulations. This will be the evidence of our true faith in God. Let us remember, in times of our tribulation, God’s servant Job who was struck with terrible illnesses and lost everything he had, even lost his children. Yet the words that proceeded from Job’s mouth was, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord;” through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God (Job 1:21, 22). As a result, God blessed him in abundance with good health, wealth, and children. YHWH even had this to say about Job, “there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man” (Job 1:8). Job knew the God he served and was therefore able to bear his sufferings. May we know and learn to be able to do the same