First Corinthians 13:13
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
If not for God’s love, we would not be saved (John 3:16). God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son to die for those who would believe in Him. The greatest display of love in all eternity was Jesus voluntarily going to the cross. No one really took Jesus’ life from Him; He died willingly so that we’d have eternal life (John 10:18). There is no greater love than the love of a friend who would die willingly for a friend, that is that they would lay down their life for another (John 15:13). Most would die for their spouse or children, but who among us would die for their enemy (Rom. 5:8)? However, that is exactly what Jesus did, dying 2000 years ago knowing we’d be wicked sinners (Rom. 5:10).
Dying for Our Own
As I touched on earlier, most of us would give our lives if it meant protecting our family or friends or for a righteous person (Rom. 5:7), but for someone who didn’t deserve it, not likely. We can say we have faith, but without love, it’s meaningless. Without love, we’re only making a bunch of useless noise (1 Cor. 13:1). We might say we have hope in Christ, but without having the love of God in our hearts, it’s all useless talk. If you had to rank these three–faith, hope, and love–I would think that love would be at the top. If it wasn’t for God’s love, we’d still be in our sins. It took the perfect sacrifice to forgive those who are imperfect. None of us are good (Rom. 3:10), and every one of us has fallen short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23), but God’s goodness led us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).
Faith, Hope, or Love
Faith can move mountains (Matt. 17:20), and hope is an anchor to our soul (Heb. 6:19), but it is love above all things that saved us from the wrath of God. Paul ranked faith, hope, and love and declared under the inspiration of God that love is the greatest of all these by far (1 Cor. 13:13). Why is love the greatest? It not only saved us from eternal death (John 3:16), but love is patient, kind, not boastful, not arrogant, not rude, not resentful and doesn’t insist on getting its own way (1 Cor. 13:4-5). Love endures all things, hopes all things, bears all things, and believes all things (1 Cor. 13:6), which I believe means that love gives people the benefit of the doubt. There is no doubt about it: Love is the greatest of all these. How can faith or hope do these things?
A Closing Prayer
Father, please help me to love my enemies, to pray for those who persecute me, to feed my enemies, to bless those who curse me because You loved me when I was unlovely and died for me who is unworthy, and to put love above all things. In Jesus’ name I pray.
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