Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“The greatest of these”
“And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity.”
Faith, hope, and charity. Three precious qualities of those who will see God. But two of them will end. Only one will remain.
We need faith now because we live in a wicked world and because we have not yet received the salvation God has promised us. This is why the author of Hebrews exhorted us to “be followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” But when Jesus returns for us and saves us, we will no longer need the faith by which we attained to his salvation. Peter explained it by saying that when Jesus returns, he will bring with him “the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”
We need hope now because those without hope are without God, as we once were (Eph. 2:12). Our hope of eternal life is Christ in us (Col. 1:27). This hope that is living within us drives us toward the purity of Christ (1Jn. 3:3) so that we may receive what we hope for. But when Jesus returns for us and our hope of salvation is realized, there will be no more need for hope. Paul wrote of the time when our hope would end in Romans 8:24-25: “We are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope, for why would a man hope for something that he sees [= already has]? But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” When Jesus comes and saves us from the destruction of the wicked, there will be no more need to hope; all of our hopes will have been fulfilled.
So then, Jesus will bring an end to both our faith and our hope. But charity is different. Even after we are saved, the love of God will continue to live in us. There is no Scripture that says, “God is faith”, or “God is hope”, but there is a verse that says, “God is love”, and to that statement John added (1Jn.4 :16) “he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
God is the one who has made charity (the love of God in action) greater than either faith or hope. He himself has no faith; He doesn’t need any. Nor does God have any hope (other than that we should cling to ours) for His condition cannot be improved upon (other than His desire for us to be with Him). He is not faith, and He has no hope; but He is holy love. That will always be the case, and blessed will be those people who will be allowed into His presence to enjoy His charity forever.