FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE
“And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three;
but the greatest of these is charity.” I Cor. 13.13.
Faith takes in past, present, and future, eternity past, and eternity to come; but hope only looks forward to the future, and has nothing to do with the past. Hope passes by the threatenings of God’s Word, and only looks to the promises; while faith, knowing that all must be accomplished, dreads the one, but clings to the other. We are said to be “saved by hope”, for it looks to the full realization of salvation completed in another world; and, when faith is weak, hope buoys up the soul, for it is fixed on Christ as an anchor and steadfast, and enters within the veil whither the Forerunner has gone before.
But both faith and hope are selfish graces. They benefit no-one but ourselves, for we cannot communicate them to others; while love is the brightest of them all, for it deals with God, and our brethren in Christ for His sake. Love is the most unselfish of the three graces, flowing out to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, whether they are naturally amiable or otherwise, since we only love what we discover of Christ’s image in them, and not what we see of their natural defects and deformities.