(13) And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
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Paul writes, "The greatest of these is love." In its own way, faith is primary, as it precedes the others, but it does not remain the most important. Faith, however, is the foundation on which the other two operate (see Hebrews 11:1).
Hope, we could say, makes the other two fly. It gives impetus to them. We can believe or have faith in something, but if we do not hope in it, we will do nothing. We can believe that love is the right thing to do, but we will never take action on it unless we hope, unless we have a solid expectation of the fulfillment of whatever we love. Depending on how powerful it is, hope can move us along with intensity and enthusiasm to see how all our knowledge of God can be acted upon and fulfilled to its greatest capacity.
The first thing to note is that our hope did not accrue to us because of our merit; it was given to us. It was not owed to us; it came as a gift. We did not ask for it. In fact, we could not ask for it because we did not even know what to ask for.
This is important to see in light of the welfare mentality that has infected quite a large segment of society. Satanhammers this mindset into our minds from the time we are born. Governmental systems like socialism are evolved or devolved out of this mindset, but it began with Satan the Devil. It tells us that we are owed things: People owe us things, God owes us things, and governments owe us things. This plays terrible tricks on our attitude toward God, our parents, society, and government. It warps our approach to other people, making us seem far more important than we really are. It makes us neglect our duties and responsibilities, and the result is that we look for government or for God to do everything for us. It perverts our hopes by destroying initiative and the inclination to serve.
God called us with a purpose in mind, and eventually, that purpose is to serve Him and all of mankind fulltime. But we must be motivated to do so, but if our hope is always that somebody else will do it, somebody else will take care of it, somebody else will take care of me, initiative and responsibility are devastated. God has granted us the capacity to hope to motivate us to do things on our own, to use initiative to step out and act.
So God, in His mercy, gave us a living hope. Even as we had no control over our conception in our mother's womb, we had no part in this either. It was entirely a creative act on the Father's part to start us on the road toward a new creation, a creation He has purposed from the very beginning.
— John W. Ritenbaugh