“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13:13)
Lord Jesus, in a world of information overload, I love meat-and-potato summations, cutting-to-the-chase presentations, crux-of-the-matter in-a-nutshell declarations. That’s exactly what you’ve given us in this greatly loved verse. What really matters? What will abide forever? What three things will we never overdo? Faith, Hope, and Love.
Faith—not a muscle that gets bigger enabling us to accomplish stuff, but an empty hand that receives more of you, Jesus, and what you freely give us. It’s “the assurance of the things we hope for, and the certainty about things the natural eye cannot see” (Heb. 11:1)—all because of what you have done on our behalf. It’s a “living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it” (Martin Luther).
Hope—not fingers crossed, a strong hunch, or intense-yet-fragile longings. To hope is to have our hearts increasingly filled with every good thing you won for us, Jesus. It’s to see, savor, and be sure about the life we will enjoy forever in the new heaven and new earth. So much so, we’ll spend the rest of our days “loving mercy, working for justice, and walking humbly with you” (Micah 6:8).
Love—not a philanthropic action we generate, but a revolutionary gift we receive from you. Indeed, “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10). And now it’s the lifestyle to which you call us and for which you equip us—loving others as you love us (John 13:34-35). Jesus, grow more of all three in us, and show more all three through us… for your glory and the benefit of our neighbors. So Very Amen.