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|Posted on January 7, 2013 at 4:31 PM||comments (15)|
Text: 1 Corinthians 13:13
In Part One of this two-part series, I presented the three keys that will unlock your blessings in 2013.The keys are Faith, Hope, and Love. In Part One, I discussed the first key: Faith. Faith is believing in the promises of God. We learned last week that God promised us protection, provision, and salvation in Christ. This week, we shall study the other two keys – Hope and Love. Let’s begin with the second key: Hope.
Hope is an important key because what one hopes for drives him to believe persistently in the reality of what he hopes to see. Spiros Zodhiates, executive editor (et al), defines hope thus, “Hope, [is the] desire of some good with the expectation of obtaining it.” However, I believe that hope is to be certain of God’s promises. Every Christian is “waiting in tension” with the desire to receive God’s promises in the midst of all sorts of spiritual warfare in this life. With such a strong hope, we’re certain that God Who called us will see us through. Paul writes to encourage the Church in Corinth thus: “. . . being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil 1:5-6). The Apostle John declares, “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (1 Jn 3:3). Colossians 1:5 also reads, “The faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven, and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel.” And Paul continues, “. . . which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col 1:27). Edward Mote, a Baptist Church pastor wrote this hymn in 1834: “My hope is built on nothingless than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” I love the chorus: “On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand. . . .”Our hope for eternity is only in Jesus Christ alone. In concluding Paul’s chapter on charity, he finally maintains, “. . . But the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13).
What is love and why is it the greatest in Paul’s theology in this text? There are four words used in Greek for love: Love between husband and wife or sexual love is eros
in Greek; love within family relationships is storge; love among friends is phileo, and God’s kind of love is agape…sacrificial love. The translated Greek word for love in this text is agape. Now you can see why Paul believes that the greatest is love. The Apostle John gives the true meaning of love in these words, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16NIV). His love is manifested in His grace, the unmerited favor granted to those who accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Love is the greatest, because it is the root of the other two; “we believe only in that which we love; we hope only for that which we love. Love is the greatest because it is for our neighbors (Mk 12:31); faith and hope are mainly for ourselves. But God is love. Love is the greatest because faith and hope can only work by love, and only show themselves by love. However, faith and hope are precious stones of one color, as a ruby and a sapphire; but love, as he has been showing us throughout the chapter, is a diamond of many facets. God is love.
Here are the keys to unlock your spiritual, financial, and protective blessings in 2013. If you believe in God’s promise, that He will save you from all harm, then why worry about self-protection when, in fact, someone can use your own weapon against you. “No weapon formed against you shall prosper. …This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord. And their righteousness is from Me…” (Is 54:17). Worry is the opposite of faith. Worrying about what you cannot handle is lack of faith in the God, Who had promised you protection, provision, and salvation.
Meanwhile, Hope, the second key, is to be certain in eager expectation of God’s promises. When the Devil whispers in your ear lying that someone is planning evil against you, tell the Devil, “No weapon formed against [me] shall prosper . . . . “ Know that you are a child of the King of kings.
You need the greatest of these keys, which is love. Love is the greatest because it is for our neighbors; faith and hope are mainly for ourselves. Jesus summarizes the Ten Commandments into two: first, love God, and second, love your fellowman: “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. And the second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these’’’ (Mk 12: 30-31 NIV). Unlock the door of your blessings with these keys by your faith and hope in God’s promises, and love for God and your fellowman.
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Spiros Zodhiates, S. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament
(electronic ed.) (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).
1 Corinthians. H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed. The Pulpit Commentary(London, New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 425.