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.

The Alpha and Omega – The Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Revelation 22:13:
I {Jesus Christ} am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

The phrases Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last were well known to the people in the biblelands. Besides the obvious usage of alpha and omega as the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, they also have a dynamic representation in the Scriptures.

The following Alpha and Omega story was told by Bishop K. C. Pillai, DD (c. 1900–1970), who converted to the Christian faith from Hinduism in India. He had a wealth of practical understanding in so many customs of the biblelands. Dr Pillai opened up a new and fascinating field of study from the customs, cultures, and manners of the people in the biblical lands, having lived and learned them from his childhood. Dr Pillai taught and inspired many in the United States until his passing. (Three of his published works are cited at the end of this study.)

Bishop Pillai told the story of what the Alpha and Omega meant to the people of the first century as follows. “When a foreign nation was about to attack a certain region, they who were about to be assaulted would commission a messenger who would then run throughout the different towns and villages and herald the warning of the danger. This messenger would yell out: I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, your first and your last warning that the enemy is coming, then he would run on to other villages and towns in the enemy’s path and repeat this warning.”

This was perhaps similar to Paul Revere’s ride when yelling out: The British are coming! The British are coming! The messenger was the only one who would come; there would be no other messengers to follow, and thus he was the first and the last. Then the people could either prepare for the imminent danger of attack on its way or reject their only chance to defend themselves.

In the Bible, the Alpha and Omega is in reference to Jesus Christ who brought the one and only salvation for all men and women. Jesus is the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, our messenger traveling in prophecy throughout the Scriptures from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, and thus he is the Beginning and the End. We can track God’s messenger, the “forerunner,” Jesus Christ, through the entire Word of God, for he is the Golden Thread. Jesus is spun into every fiber of prophecy in the tapestry of life, as he runs through and spans the ages of time in Scripture revealing him as man’s complete Savior.

Acts 4:12:
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name {than Jesus Christ} under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

When Jesus had told the Apostle John that he was the Alpha and Omega in Revelation, Jesus was saying that he was the only hope of the ages, the only entrance into the everlasting graces of the Creator.

In the Gospels, Jesus preached about the end of the world, and the termination of life as it currently exists (Matthew 24:3ff). The Alpha and Omega heralds out that through him there is a harbor of refuge and a heavenly entrance, giving those who will believe on him a safe passage (Matthew 13:25-30, 36-43, and John 3:16-21), for he is humanity’s preservation and salvation.

Jesus Christ is the one great subject in the Word of God, for he is the prophesied Promised Seed of the woman. He is the Master’s master key who unlocks the divine revelation in the Word of God. The entire Bible is about him either directly or indirectly. Everything written in the Scriptures is subject to him and centers in and around him. Whether the references are explicit or implicit, the topic of all the content of the Bible is Jesus Christ, and without him, man cannot fully understand or appreciate the Scriptures in their fullness or detail, for Jesus is the mediator between God and man.

With the Alpha and Omega revealed in the Word of God, we can further learn that through Christ, man has his own Genesis, his beginning commencing in divine purpose and fully completed as is revealed in the Book of Revelation with culmination into an eternity of divine grace. The Book of Revelation is the complement and completion to the Book of Genesis; without the Book of Genesis the Book of Revelation would be incomplete and left wanting, and vice versa.

What completes all that was written in the beginning (in the Book of Genesis) is Jesus Christ (in prophecy). What fulfills all that is written for the end (in the Book of Revelation) is Christ Jesus (in fulfillment of prophecy).

To illustrate, in the Book of Genesis, we learn of man’s banishment from Paradise and expulsion from the tree of life (3:24) while in the Book of Revelation, we see man welcomed back again into Paradise with free access to the tree of life (22:14).

In Genesis, the curse of the ground and man’s curse is pronounced (3:14, 17) while in Revelation we find no more curse at all (22:3).

In Genesis, we encounter man sentenced to sorrows, sufferings, and death (3:17, 19) while in Revelation we witness man’s acquittal and freedom to live life without sorrows, sufferings, and death (21:4).

In Genesis, there is night (1:5) while in Revelation there is no more night (21:23).

In Genesis, we observe the sun and moon for physical light (1:16) while in Revelation we see that we do not need the sun and moon because we will be living in the light of God (21:23).

In Genesis, we come across the seas (1:10) while in Revelation there are no more seas (21:1).

In Genesis, we have a river for the Earth’s blessings (2:10-4) while in Revelation we have a river for the new Earth’s blessings (22:1-2).

In Genesis, we have the entrance of sin and man’s fall from grace (3:14, 17) while in Revelation we have the end of sin and man’s complete restoration into God’s grace (21:3, 22:3).

In Genesis, we have the rainbow as a visible token of God’s covenant with the Earth (9:13) while in Revelation we have the rainbow in recognition of God’s covenant (4:3, 10:1).

In Genesis, we have the marriage of the first man ― Adam (2:18-23) while in Revelation we have the marriage of the last Adam ― Jesus Christ (19:1-9, also see I Corinthians 15:45).

In Genesis, we have man driven from Eden (3:24) while in Revelation we have man restored to a new paradise (22:1ff).

In Genesis, we discover Satan’s rebellion (between verses 1:1 and 1:2, also see Revelation 12:7-9, Ezekiel 28:15-18, and Isaiah 14:12, while in Revelation we are shown Satan’s final rebellion and destruction and a new Earth (20:7-10, 21:1). Please note in Genesis 1:1 the Earth was complete and perfect, created “not in vain” (Isaiah 45:18), but then in Genesis 1:2 the Earth became “without form and void” (Jeremiah 4:23). Then beginning from Genesis 1:3 through Genesis 2:3, God began putting the Earth back together for man. (See also II Peter 3:5-7, and See also the study titled: Geneses, written by the same author.)

In Genesis, we have the Earth created (1:1) while in Revelation we read that the Earth passed away (22:1).

In Genesis, we have the sun, moon, stars associated with Earth’s government (1:14-16), while in Revelation we have the sun, moon, and the stars associated for earth’s judgment (6:12, 8:12, and 16:8).

In Genesis, we have man created in God’s image (1:26) in charge over the earth, while in Revelation we have another man in charge over the earth in Satan’s image (13:11-16).

In Genesis, we have the future prophecy of “the woman” (Mary) and of her Son (Jesus) foretold as a future tense promise and their conflict with (the Dragon) the Serpent (3:15), while in Revelation we again have “the woman” (Mary) and her Son (Jesus) as a past tense reality of the promise fulfilled and their conflict with (the Serpent) the Dragon (12:1-6).

In Genesis, we have man’s dominion completely diminished and the beginning of Satan’s dominion (3:24) while in Revelation, we have Satan’s dominion ended and man’s dominion completely restored (22:1ff).

In Genesis, we have the doom of the Serpent pronounced (3:15), while in Revelation, we have the destruction of the Serpent executed (20:10).

Thus, we have the beginning and the end with all that was introduced (formed, made, and created) in the Book of Genesis 1:1-2:2 completely fulfilled in an endless life because of Jesus Christ, culminating in the Book of Revelation 21:1ff complete with a new Heaven and Earth.

Without Jesus Christ, both Books are just books – (and every book between, flawed!) – and man hasn’t a prayer, a hope, or a Savior. With Jesus Christ, man has a harbinger of true opportunity, a lively hope, and a risen partnership with and in Christ Jesus for all eternity. Both Books were produced generations apart and no amount of human genius or intervention could have schemed out this awesome bond with intellect only, for both Books are perfectly entwined way beyond what you or I could ever dream up.

The Book of Revelation for the Christian believer is not a disparaging book of doomsday (as we will learn through our series on The Golden Thread), but rather it reveals an incredible amount of good news, relinquishing fears and bestowing on humanity a magnanimous amount of spiritual insight regarding the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

We have Genesis, the Book of the beginning, and we have Revelation, the Book of the end; both complement and augment each other to reveal Christ as our Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. Jesus Christ fills to the full all the Scriptures and assures men and women of their salvation through his accomplished redeeming work.

The Bible, I believe, is His-story (God’s) in the making and that Jesus Christ is the true essence of His-story, man is the ultimate purpose and reach of His-story, and the Scriptures contain the true history of creation and man. It evidences the record from the dawn of time to eternal bliss, from the alpha of Lucifer to the omega of his total demise in the lake of fire, from the beginning of man and his struggle with sin and death to his ultimate victory in an endless life. The content within the Scriptures give an overview of all time showing the individual ages in the scope of the larger picture of eternity and man’s individual part he has in all God’s creation with the Savior.

Isaiah 43:10:
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant {Jesus} whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Before me and after me are representations of God ― the Supreme Alpha and Omega.

Between the Alpha and the Omega is the servant of God ― Jesus Christ, chosen: that ye may know and believe in God. Jesus is the “Servant” chosen to reveal God. Jesus makes known the heavenly Father to those who want to know, and they who discover Christ become genuine witnesses of God’s brilliant creative power.

It is interesting to note that the Book of Isaiah is within the core (or center) of the Bible, and from this center God said in Isaiah 48:12, “I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.” God is the Creator, and thus He is the Alpha and Omega of creation, while the Son of God is the Alpha and Omega to knowing Him personally Who has the power of creativity.

To truly know God intimately is to first know the Son, for in him we are lovingly shown the Father, “And such trust we have through Christ to God-ward” (II Corinthians 3:4).

II Peter 1:2-3:
-2: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.
-3: According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

What a honorable privilege we have to know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and oh, how thankful we can become to have been given such wonderful understanding from the Word of God that reveals to our hearts the truth, the love, and the light of God Himself through the great revealer ― Jesus Christ.

*******

Pillai, K.C. Orientalisms of the Bible, Volume 1. Fairborn: OH:
Mor-Mac Publishing Co., 1969.

Pillai, K.C. Light through an eastern window. 14th Printing.
New York: Robert Speller & Son, 1976.

Pillai, K.C. Orientalisms of the Bible, Volume 2. Fairborn: OH:
Mor-Mac Publishing Co., 1974.

Faith, Hope, and Charity (The Shorter Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

In this study, we will be taking a look at 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 byte we will briefly look at all three and concentrate on each one in particular in other Bible bytes.

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

Once, I was told by an individual that “charity was the best gift a person could receive from God,” and he got this idea from the verse above. However, the Bible doesn’t say that charity is the best gift, rather the Bible says charity is “the greatest.” Also, the Bible does not state “faith and hope are not really as good.” The reason that charity is the greatest is because it is a God-given master key for unlocking our own faith, and faith opens up to us and reveals “the hope of His calling” (Ephesians 1:18). So with charity, our faith and hope are energized.

“Faith” is the Greek word pistis, and means believing, believing faith. “Hope” is the Greek word elpis, and it means future hope, it is usually in the context of the hope men and women have for the return of Christ (still a future event). “Charity” is the Greek word agapee and means the love of God.

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}, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). The next words, “but then face to face” means when we meet Christ “face to face,” because of our hope in his imminent return. “Now I know in part;” is again in reference to our believing faith, to believe what we do know. “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 because then we will have been perfected and will be enjoying our lives with God and with Jesus Christ in eternity.

Charity, the love of God we have will activate our faith, our believing faith to love as God’s Word encourages. Charity energizes our believing faith, and our believing faith will appropriate the revealed promises of God. Our believing faith energizes our anticipation in the hope of Christ’s return for us, and our hope is a necessary ingredient for living charitably. This is why all three are so wonderful and worthy of our taking the time to understanding them more clearly, and I am sure they will give you great inspiration, as well as great expectations.

The vehicle to help facilitate our believing and inspire our hope is charity, yet all three of these are important to living our lives in true godliness. “And now abideth {remains here for you} faith, hope, charity.”