Faith, Hope, and Charity (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Through this study, we will be looking at the words ― faith, hope, and charity to learn how they work together. Our goal is to acquire a further understanding of their meaning in the Scriptures, for they are the footing on which the more abundant life rests. In this first study, we will briefly look at all three words.

I Corinthians 13:13: And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but {and} the greatest of these is charity.

Once I was told by an individual, “charity was the best gift a person could receive from God, and everything else was insignificant in comparison” and he got this idea from the verse above. However, the Bible does not say that charity is the best gift; rather the Bible says the greatest of these is charity. Jesus said, “my Father is greater than I” in John 14:28, and this is the same Greek word that is translated greatest, though no one would say Jesus is insignificant in God’s eyes! Also, the Bible does not teach “faith and hope are not really as good.”

Let us use the earth, the sun, and the moon for a parallel example; the earth supplies the substance that sustains our lives, but still without the moon and the sun, the earth would be about as barren of a planet as you could find. In truth, we need all three to sustain ourselves and flourish in our physical lives; it is the same truth with faith, hope, and charity, we need all three to sustain ourselves and flourish in our spiritual lives.

The reason why charity is called the greatest is because it is a God-given master key for unlocking our faith, and faith opens, reveals, and insures our inner souls of “the hope of His calling” (Ephesians 1:18), which is to be with Christ for all eternity. So with charity, our faith and hope are energized.

Faith is the Greek word pistis, and means believing or believing faith and without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), so faith is significantly important.

Hope is the Greek word elpis, and it means future hope (Romans 8:24–25); it is usually in the context of the hope or anticipation that men and women have for the return of Christ (still a future event), and I Timothy 1:1 says that Christ is our hope. Only the believer has access to the hope of Christ’s return in order to patiently wait with joy to be eternally with our Savior in heaven. Hope encourages the Christian believer to continue standing for God even through any present adversity because the future has rewards for our believing and loving in this current time of grace, so hope is also significantly important.

Charity is the Greek word agapē and means the love of God. The word greatest in I Corinthians 13:13 above would be much better understood if it were translated as the first, or the elder, or the commencement, or the foundation, as this is the proper and greater meaning of the word, because God loved us from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). God’s love for us has always existed while faith and hope both have a beginning in our lives, faith comes to the individual by hearing the Word (Romans 10:17), and man had no spiritual faith until he knew Christ (Galatians (3:22–29). And as well, our hope began growing in our hearts from the moment of our salvation when we became the children of God, a hope that we at one time were without (Ephesians 2:2; I Thessalonians 4:13). Thus, as (and when) faith and hope begin living in the heart of our understanding, then charity will magnify itself greater and greater in our lives as a viable part of the spiritual serenity we can enjoy walking with God.

Charity – being the love of God is a part of God Himself, and this part – His love – He has given to all believers (Romans 5:5; 8:36–39), while our hope and believing faith is something we learn to aspire to utilize in our daily living. We learn to believe in the promises of God through our believing faith, and we learn to hope more and more through knowing what the Word says regarding our Savior returning for us.

I Corinthians 13:12:  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; means that today we do not know it all, even with all the abundance that God’s Word reveals to us. This phrase is in reference to our believing faith, “for we walk by faith {believing faith}, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). The next words, but then face to face is in reference to when we meet Christ face to face, because our hope is in his imminent return. Now I know in part; is again in reference to our believing faith, to believe in what we do know from God’s healing Word. But then shall I know even as I am known is again in reference to our hope, when we will receive all that we have hoped in and anticipated, because then we will have been perfected (Philippians 3:20–21), and we will be enjoying our lives with God and with Jesus Christ through eternity.

Love – God’s love – motivates our endeavors, faith – believing faith – appropriates the promises of God, and hope – Christian hope – anticipates the return of Christ. These three form a complete whole and enhance Christian character in an individual’s life. “And now abideth {or ― remains here for you} faith, hope, charity.”

Philippians 3:20–21 (The Amplified Bible):**
-20: But we are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven, and from it also we earnestly and patiently await [the coming of] the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [as] Savior,
-21: Who will transform and fashion anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and majesty, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself.

**Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

God Is Faithful

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

I Corinthians 1:9:   God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

It was God Who called us to have fellowship with Jesus Christ. Have you ever considered having fellowship with the Savior, with the Lord Jesus who walked on this earth nearly two thousand years ago? Jesus has not gone missing, he was raised from the dead and now waits for you and me to answer God’s call, and when we do a spiritual fellowship begins because God is faithful to His call!

God called you to Himself for the purpose of fellowship. Notice in the first three words of the verse above that our God initiates the endearing point that He is faithful and will never let us down as we learn to believe in Him by simply believing His written Word to us as the Word contains His heartfelt message to us.

II Peter 1:10 records, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” When we accept our heavenly calling and faithfully walk in the knowledge of God’s faithful calling, then we will never fail in our life’s endeavors to have and enjoy a reciprocal relationship of fellowship with both God (Who called us) and His Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who gave his life for us).

Colossians 3:15:   And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body {the body of Christ, “Now ye are the body of Christ”― I Corinthians 12:27}; and be ye thankful.

I Thessalonians 2:12:  That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

Imagine this for a moment ― God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, actually called you into one body, and He asks that you walk worthy of His kingdom and glory that you have been called to inherit! Why did He call? He called to invite you into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and through him we have fellowship with one another wherein we can enjoy and express the fullness of heavenly joy.

I John 1:3–4:
-3: That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
-4: And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

Can you actually imagine having fellowship with both the Father and with Jesus Christ? Well, in truth Jesus Christ is your personal Savior, he gave his life for you, individually, and he is always with you (Colossians 1:27), and since he is with you now, now is the time to acknowledge him wholeheartedly. God called you to this fellowship with the Savior of the world, and as you begin to discover your personal fellowship with him, the Scripture promises your joy may be full! In fact, you will be so JOYFUL that thankful praise will radiate from every pore of your being because you know that God is faithful and that He has called you to enjoy a spiritual fellowship with Himself, with Jesus Christ, and with fellow believers.

I Corinthians 10:13:    There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer {allow} you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Fellowship is our escape, fellowship is our freedom from bondage, fellowship is receiving our ability that our faithful God provides, and we only need to bear our calling to be truly walking within this calling of heavenly fellowship with heaven’s holiest. When we are in fellowship with God, He would move heaven and earth to keep our fellowship in perfect working order because He is faithful! I Thessalonians 5:24 tells us, ”Faithful is he that calleth you.”

What is the thing that keeps people away from God and His fellowship? Sin and the nature of sin in fallen man is the only thing that bars people from God. What if sin could be removed from the repentant man or woman who desires to come over to God’s side? Forgiveness of sin is the only answer, and God promises to be faithful about forgiveness, in fact He is so faithful that He actually cleanses those He forgives.

I John 1:9:   If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Fellowship literally means a full sharing; it is having a partnership, enjoying an equal portion. However, do you know the question that stumps many people? Why did God call me? Well, He called you because He knew that you would believe His Word. We read in II Timothy 2:13 that, “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” You see, our God is “a faithful Creator” (I Peter 4:19).

In our initial stages of believing God’s Word, He wants you to know that He is always faithful. Romans 11:29 reads, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance,” meaning that God will never regret or take back His calling or His gifts, including our salvation, which is our gift (Ephesians 2:8) because God is faithful to give.

His calling was not a fluke, an accident, or a mistake. God loved you and called you from the beginning of time.

Ephesians 1:4:  According as he {God} hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

God called, choosing us before the foundation of the world, and as we hear, recognize, and answer His calling by our believing, we will begin to notice that we do not incur His wrath, but rather, we can always stand before Him in fellowship, being holy and without blame, and immersed in His unending love for us.

II Thessalonians 2:13–14:
-13: But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through {by way of} sanctification of the Spirit and {your} belief of the truth:
-14: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Not only were we called before the foundation of the world, which is to be chosen from the beginning to have fellowship with God Himself, with Jesus Christ, and with one another, but also we were called to obtain the actual glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This glory is heavy-duty stuff, while all the while it simultaneously lightens the pressures of life, and it is all ours when we answer the faithful call of our God Who is our heavenly Father, by believing and accepting this glory of our Lord into our hearts as a true testimony of our calling.

God is faithful, and He called you into a fellowship with Jesus Christ!

The more we learn of Jesus Christ, the more defined our relationship with him can grow and blossom. You may have a full and personal sharing in all of Christ’s glory, in all that he accomplished for you, in all that he made available for you by his life, death, and resurrection.

God’s faithful Scriptures reveal the truths of His calling to you – check it out – it is a true treasure hunt and adventure, and when you find the treasures – they are yours to keep for all eternity because – God Is Faithful!