Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Heavenly Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love

Faith, Hope and Love, Why Love is the Greatest?

By Abraham Israel

"The three most important things to have [in our spiritual life] are faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love" (1 Cor 13:13, NIrV).

Faith is important becauses without it no one can really please God. The writer to the Hebrew says, " It's impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him." (Heb 11:6. MSG).

Corrie Ten Boom the great Dutch Christian Holocaust survivor who helped many Jews escape the Nazis during World War beautifully says, "Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible."

Charles H. Spurgeon who is called as the prince of preachers says, "Faith is the mother of virtues. Faith is the fire which consumes sacrifice. Faith is the water which nurtures the root of piety. If you have not faith, all your graces must die. And in proportion as your faith increases, so will all your virtues be strengthened, not all in the same proportion, but all in some degree."

So faith acts as the foundation of the believer's life upon which all the other spiritual graces are built as a superstructure upon it.

Take faith out, and all you will have is a broken and crushed building. C. H. Spurgeon beautifully and pictorially describes this scenario by saying, "Faith is the silver thread upon which the pearls of the graces are to be hung. Break that, and you have broken the string -- the pearls lie scattered on the ground." 

This is the reason when God gave permission for Satan to sift Apostle Peter, the first thing that Jesus did was to pray to God the Father to show mercy and grace to Peter, so that his "faith should not fail" through the spiritual crisis that he will go through (Luke 22:31-32)

Such is the importance of faith that our whole spiritual mobility and life depends on faith. The Bible clearly affirms this by saying, "...without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. " (Heb 11:6)

We were positioned by God supernaturally to "... sit [by faith] together [with Himself] in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:6).

Then slowly God trains us to "...walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Cor 5:7)

Like a toddler we crawl initially, but as times goes by we start "[to]... stand by faith" (2 Cor 1:24).

Then we gain boldness in spiritual life and continue to " by faith." (Rom 1:17).

Spiritual life comes in to existence by faith and continues to exist by the faith that God has imparted in to us. God's righteous life is revealed to us and through us progressively more and more as we grow from one level of faith to another level of faith which comes as a gift to us personally (Eph 2:8).

By faith we speak against the mountains of problems that we face daily and throw it away in to the sea of the world system of governance from where it has all come to discourage us in our spiritual journey (Matt 21:21).    

By faith we receive healing from Jesus day in and day out (Mark 5:34; 10:52).

In fact faith is so important that it has to be there any moment of time in order for our spiritual life to continue. God starts the faith and he will help us continue in the faith that he has started in our life (Phil 1:6).

Even though faith is so important in our spiritual life, Hope goes one step higher in hierarcy and order. Faith is in the now-realm, it means faith helps us to please God and move Him in to action (Heb 11:1, 6). Prayer of faith moves God in to action (James 5:15-16)

When nothing happens with our faith that we have, but only see a great expectation for God's answer inside us, then we step in to that higher level of hope. When nothing happens it is easy for a normal person to become discouraged and give up their expectation. But hope does not dissapoint people because those who hold it patiently are taken in to the very presence of God (Heb 6:19).

Father of faith like Abraham who waited and waited with faith were taken in to the depths of hope. The apostle Paul says, "[For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, So [numberless] shall your descendants be." (Rom 4:18, AMP). In other words, the outward circumstances around Abraham said that it was hopeless to continue in hope, but because of the supernatural presence of God that Abraham experienced inside him, the strength of hope grew greater and greater, and Abraham continued in the faith that God placed inside Him initially. When hope stays alive and well, faith super-abounds because hope is the highest limit that faith encounters for further growth prospect.

George Herbert beautifully has said, "He that lives in hope dances without music." It is absolutely true because hope bring the Presence of God in to our lives. David the great lover of God said by his personal experience, "... In your presence is fullness of joy" (Psa 16:11). When there is joy in our heart, automatically we start to dance even without music (Lam 5:15)

Even though hope enters the Presence of God in the heavenlies and keeps the soul satisfied in God by acting as the anchor of our soul (Heb 6:19), yet love is one step higher in hierarcy because love reveals the person of the Godhead to our human personality. Hope carries us to our destiny in God safely but love satisfies us where we are in life.

The Bible says, " 1 Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; 2 through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering works perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope: 5 and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Rom 5:1-5). In the above verses we see that we start our life with the foundation of "being...justified by faith" (5:1) and then move on to the higher hierarchy of rejoicing "in the hope of the glory of God" (5:2) and then finally we are moved in to the highest hierarcy of spiritual order and ecstasy which is to experience God's love personally in our mortal body itself. This happens when hope does not dissapoint by stoping itself and just giving us earnest expectation of something good, but allows God's love to be poured out in us in a higher hierarchichal order than itself (5:5).

This makes us to experience God in a new dimesion each and every day. We will be able to converse with Him and intimately fellowship with Him in our spirit when this happens. O what a privilege!

The highest purpose for the existence of humans on earth is to find God and have fellowship with Him (Acts 17:26-28), this is the reason when we are filled with the love of God we will feel eternal satisfaction even while living on this earth as a finite mortal itself.

Henry Drummond gives a deep insight about love by asking us the questions and giving us an answers, "Why is Love greater than faith? Because the end is greater than the means. And why is it greater than charity? Because the whole is greater than the part."

Love gives the greatest satisfaction in this human life. As the Bible says, "Many waters can’t quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man would give all the wealth of his house for love, he would be utterly scorned." (Sos 8:7). The price of wealth is no way equal to the value of love because true unconditional love is still costlier, as it is the greatest valuable commodity and the most desirable one in all of human existence.

In short, this is why as Henry Drummond says "Where Love is, God is." In other words, God who owns the whole world not only gave the whole world to receive the love of humans (Psa 115:16), but gave His highest object of love who is His only begotten Son to receive again these objects of love from being seperated from Him for eternity because of their sinfulness (John 3:16).

This is the reason ♥♥♥LOVE IS THE GREATEST OF ALL heavenly virtues. Praise the Lord!!!   


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