Can Our Faith and Hope be Enough to Please God?

Why does he say,”Love matters more than Faith and hope”?

Pastor Colin Smith’s teaching sheds light on the question, “Why does Paul, the apostle of Christ, say that love is greater than faith and hope?”

In a message given by Colin, he teaches, “The Bible gives us the negative and the positive effects of our lives on earth. The negative keeps us from Christ, because of our arrogance, pride and self-confidence, which tempt us to stay distant from God, in order to continue what we’re doing. The same behavior, when we finally realize the futility of it, can be the positive catalyst which finally draws us to Christ.”

Let’s take a look at this verse [1 Corinthians 13:13 | NIV]

“… And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

In Vs.13, Paul says,  Hope, Faith, and Love are all essential and eternal, but then he identified love as “the greatest” of all. 

How is this possible? How can love be greater than faith and hope?

Pastor Colin refers to another bible teacher, Bishop Riley, who explains it like this, “Love is the greatest grace, for it is the one quality exemplified by God (because God is love) and reflected by believers.

God doesn’t need faith. And God doesn’t need hope, because he knows the future. And certainly he knows the present as he has it secured in his hand.”

Pastor Colin continued, “With misty eyes I said, ‘Oh, what a beautiful passage from Paul!’ He describes three frightening possibilities. The first is to worship without love.

And the second frightening possibility is to have the faith to move the mountains, but to have no love. And the third, the most frightening possibility of all, is the possibility of sacrifice without love. If you give all that you possess generously to the poor and others, but you do not love, you gain nothing.”

It’s true that God doesn’t need faith or hope.  As we read in 1 John 4:8, ‘God is love.’ Scripture never says that God is faith or hope, though he is the object of our faith and hope, to be sure. And the more love his people have, the more they’re like their Father God.

In vs 13. Paul encourages us to keep reflecting on God’s love. And what God has done through his son, Christ Jesus—the miracles that he performed and his death on the cross [death of a righteous person on behalf of unrighteous people, so that he might bring you to God] is the evidence of God’s love for his children.  

In summary, Paul, the apostle of Christ is saying: Love matters. In spite of all your gifts, your knowledge, your prestige, your faith, your ministry, your sacrifices, your services, your good deeds; If you don’t love, God counts it all as nothing.

When I heard this message, it made me question how some of us live and how we show our love. When I found myself wrestling with “The World’s love vs. God’s love”, I had to take my questions and confusion to God in prayer, saying “Lord, I see that some of us truly love you. But what I don’t understand is, How can one worship you on one hand, and hate others on the other hand?

How can one sit near your altar, worshiping you—even speaking in the tongues of men and angels—then leave your presence and regard others with hatred and indifference, the total opposite of your love? I’m not judging, rather I’m asking all this in the name of Jesus. Amen!”

Surely, two days later, God shed light on my confusion, speaking to me through someone dear, who reminded me of this verse, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” [Romans 3:23]

Indeed, we are all sinners. I’m as a sinner just as they are. That is why we’re in need of a Savior, Christ Jesus. I thanked God for the reminder of who we are, and who He is. 

Dear Lord, 

I see that love is indeed greater than faith and hope. Love is essential to your nature. I thank you, Lord, for your unwavering love. How good it is to trust in you! And my hope in you keeps me going, especially when I struggle with pain in my flesh, weakness, and discouragement. Loving Lord, help me by filling my heart with your love, that I may give this love to those you have placed in my life. May others know that I belong to you because of how I love. I praise you only, O God of love. Amen!

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