If you were to sum up what is involved in being a Christian, what would you say? How could you explain it in just a few words? I’m sure there are several ways to do it. Here is one way: Faith, Hope, & Love. There it is. Everything we are to have as Christians. Paul summed it up that way in 1 Corinthians 13:13 when he said that “faith, hope, and love abide.” Isn’t it great that we can refocus our attention by remembering these three words?
One letter I enjoy reading in the Bible is the one Paul sent to the Thessalonian Christians. In his first letter he spoke very highly of them. He loved them and they loved him. Their conversion was a great example to many far and wide. In telling these brethren about his thankfulness for them and his prayers for them, he sums up what following Christ is all about. Look at 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3, “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” That, my friends, says it all. That is what God has blessed us to have. That is where every spiritual blessing abides. That is what we are to live for on earth so that we can live with God in Heaven.
WORK OF FAITH – Faith is where following Jesus begins. Everything we are and everything we do is a result of our faith in God. Faith is why we obey the Gospel. Faith is why we live for God. Faith is at the heart of it all. Without faith we cannot follow God or make Him happy (Hebrews 11:6). Faith without action is a useless faith (James 2:17). We are justified by faith. By faith we have access to God. By faith in Jesus we are made righteous. Our conduct in this life and our work in the Lord’s kingdom runs off of faith.
STEADFAST HOPE – God has given us the hope of salvation through Jesus. Because Jesus died for us and was raised from the dead we have the joy of hope. Our sins are forgiven and we are given the promise that we will be with God in Heaven for eternity. Hope. A beautiful word. Our faith and hope are in God (1 Peter 1:21). We have a living hope (1 Peter 1:3). We confess our hope in Christ and must hold on to that hope (Hebrews 10:23). Hope of far greater things to come. Hope to see God one day. Hope that overcomes this world.
LABOR OF LOVE – Just as faith drives us and hope keeps us going, love has a vital role as well. All that we say, do, and think as God’s people must be done in love. Love for God and love for others. Paul said that we can do a lot of great things for God and others but if it is done without love then it is worthless (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). We are told to love as God has loved us (John 15:12). Love serves. Love forgives. Love is eternal.
Let’s keep following Christ with strong faith, joyful hope, and zealous love. Remember: Faith, Hope, & Love. See it. Feel it. Do it.