Three great gifts

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There are three great gifts that God has given and still gives to His own. They are faith, hope and love. Each one is better than the other, and we need them all.

Faith is the most valuable in the respect that without it, there can be no hope or love. Faith, you see, accepts Christ in whom we have forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Salvation is by grace alone for Christ's sake. We are not saved because of our good works or because of our love. "If righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly" (Gal. 2:21). Because salvation is through faith in Christ alone, this means that Christ is the only foundation of our salvation. Our faith is not an acceptable foundation. We are not acceptable to God because of our faith, but because of Christ. We need faith, but it is not meritorious. Faith is the greatest in the respect that through it alone we receive salvation.

Christian hope is the assurance that this time of sin and tribulation will one day come to an end and we will attain the undisturbed bliss of heaven. Hope convinces us of the fact that what we now possess in faith we will possess by sight. In this way hope encourages Christians so that they have the strength to continue onward on the road of faith.

Faith and hope are, however, only temporary and belong to this world. In heaven we will no longer need faith. There we will be free of all sin. Neither will we need hope in heaven because all of God's promises will have been fulfilled and we will behold our Savior face to face.

In respect to endurance love is greater than both faith and hope. "But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Cor. 13:13). "Love never fails" (1 Cor. 13:8). Love is eternal. Faith in Christ produces love. When lovelessness afflicts us, let us behold the One who is Eternal Love, who though innocent, suffers for our sins, and in return is blasphemed and treated shamefully, but who nevertheless prays for those who persecute Him.