Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Corinthians 13:13
“But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13
In first Corinthians 12, Paul is writing about spiritual gifts which are given by the Holy Spirit to the Church, distributed to each as He chooses. Therefore, one Christian may receive one type of gift while another receives a different gift. However, in chapter 13, he discusses the three gifts that are not only common to all, but those three which will remain forever, for they are eternal gifts. These being faith, hope and love. The word translated “abide” in our focus verse is the Greek word menō meaning not just to be here now, but also to remain, stay and not to depart. This same word is used in the Book of Acts where Paul tells the centurion, “Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved.” Acts 27:31. The soldiers needed to stay and remain in the boat to save everyone in the ship. And then in Hebrews we read, “For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one.” Hebrews 10:34. Again, the word translated abiding is the same Greek word menō. Here the idea is that their property may be seized here, but in the next life in heaven, it will remain eternally.
So, based on the Greek word menō, the three gifts faith, hope and love will remain forever, not like the gifts which are distributed to some. “Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.” 1 Corinthians 13:8. In this verse, we see a contrast of three gifts which will go away and the three gifts in our focus verse.
The Corinthian church members were priding themselves on the fact that they could speak in tongues and demonstrate other attention-getting gifts. However, Paul reminds them of the gifts that the Corinthians so desired were but temporary; faith, hope, and love, the foundational gifts, are permanent and therefore more to be desired. Paul then corrects them by reminding them of that which is better. “But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.” 1 Corinthians 12:31.
The three gifts, faith, hope, and love are gifts that are present today and will be with us forever. Faith in the Son of God will not cease in the eternal state; we will not stop trusting Jesus just because our faith has become sight. “Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-7. Today, we have faith aside from sight. In eternal life, we will continue to have faith but it will be in conjunction with sight. If anything, our faith will grow for our trust in Him will be greater. As for hope, Jesus is our Blessed Hope. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” Titus 2:11-14. Our hope will not end simply because Jesus, our blesses hope, has come. For the entire time we are there, our expectations will always be for good because we are eternally with the foundation of our hope. And finally, love. We must remember that the basic and essential part of God’s nature is love. “And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16. God is love; therefore, love is eternal, both eternity past and eternity future.
There is a vast difference between the gifts given to selected Christians, i.e.: tongues, prophecy, the gift of knowledge, etc. However, the three mentioned in our focus verse are eternally with us who are Christians and enter our everlasting home with Jesus for He is our blessed hope, love embodied, and our faith will be secure with Him. What a beautiful life to look forward to.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.