"So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
— 1 Corinthians 13:13
Faith, hope, and love are said to abide (or, per the NIV, to “remain”) because they sustain the Christian through all manner of sorrows and suffering, through the temptations of success and the torments of despair. Faith, hope, and love remain throughout, and they will escort us through the gates of glory when our time is up. Whether our body or time itself has given out, faith and hope and love will be as young and new as ever.
Well, what is faith? Faith is the conviction of things not seen; it is not contingent on what is around us but what is above us, inside of us, and before us. Faith is the assurance of what we hope for.
And what is hope? Hope doesn’t put us to shame, because our hope is not the same as “hoping something happens.” Our hope is sure. Our hope is guaranteed; it is not the vain hope of earthly gods, but the blessed hope of steadfast love.
What kind of love is this? Godly love is patient and kind. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Steadfast love never fails. Love never stops. Love is always advocating, always mediating, always sustaining. God is love.
Yes, God is love. This is why the greatest of the three is love. And it is why faith and hope in the God of love remain, why they endure forever, why they will trail us into heaven like the glorious train of our wedding garment, the beautiful train of Christ’s Bride. With beaming gladness we will march into glory, our faith finally seeing face to face, our hope—at last!—met with the promised splendor, our Love before us forever, illuminating the new world with the greatest of what abides eternal.
Our frail earthly faith and our tender heavenly hope will meet their match in the Love that strengthens them, and we will enjoy this Love forever.
“There the fountain overflows in streams and rivers of love and delight, enough for all to drink at, and to swim in, yea, so as to overflow the world as it were with a deluge of love.”
— Jonathan Edwards, Heaven, A World of Love