1 Corinthians 13:13
And now stays faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three. The word "abideth" is significant, as applied to each of the three great graces. While so much must "pass away," why may faith, hope, and charity be said to abide? Because they are the dress of souls, not of bodies. They are things belonging to character, not merely to conduct. Souls pass through into new spheres of existence, taking with them all that is peculiar to them. We shall step into the eternal world with just the clothing of character - the garments of faith, love, and hope - which we had put on our spirit in our mortal sphere. More or less distinctly we all have an idea that faith and hope are powers peculiar to our present mortal and earthly condition. We think we shall no longer need them when we have reached to heaven. We think that only love, charity, will go with us there. Yet can it be that we shall ever get past "faith"? Is "sight" anything more than another and a higher form of "faith"? Shall we ever lose "hope"? As long as we remain creatures, not creators, we shall surely have to believe and hope and love.
I. THE IMMORTALITY OF LOVE. We may infer this from the abiding character of love in this life. All kinds of love tend to abide; they even strive to increase and grow. Life may greatly change with us, multiplied sorrows may come to us, but there are some who love us, whose love keeps on, and can neither change nor pass. True mother love abideth. True wifely love abideth. True friendship love abideth. We go out into the eternal world with such love folded like holy robes about our spirits. And that kind of love which we call Christian love - charity - has the same power of abiding. Let it but be gained in the early days of our Christian life, and it wilt stay and grow, widening and adorning the Christian spirit down to its time of passing through. If love thus abides in Christian life, can it be possible that death, which is but the servant of Christ - Christ's hall porter or gate keeper - should be able to master it, overcome it, and finish it? But we may further argue the immortality of love from every view of the heavenly state that is presented to us, and every conception we can form of it. It is the place of union; the uniting bond must be love. It is a home; the one sanctifying power in a home is love. It is the place where God is all in all, and "God is love." Those whom God teaches to love he teaches to love forever.
II. THE IMMORTALITY OF FAITH. What is the proper idea of faith? It is the relation in which we ought to stand to things above us, higher than we are. It is our "evidence of things not seen." As long as there is anybody in the world wiser than ourselves, we shall have to believe what they say. Get the very wisest man that ever lived on earth, if there is in heaven one spirit wiser than he, he will have to believe - to take on trust - what the wiser spirit may say. And the holiest archangel must believe what the all wise God may say. Change them as we may, know as we are known, grow with giant strides as the eternal hours pass by, stilt we can never overtake or outgrow God. As long as we are creatures we shall be, in knowledge as well as in power, below our Creator. While we keep our being we shalt have to believe - we shall have to trust. If we have the true spirit wrought in us, we shall never want to get beyond faith. For the creature it is the highest blessedness that he is found willing to trust. To wish to see is to rebel. It is to wish to be God, and take the place of God. Enough for us to be forever the children of God, and it is a very foolish child who wants to get beyond trust. Heaven is so beautiful, because we shall there be children at home forever; perfected in faith, in childlike trust, and safe in the protection and the shadow of the eternal Father. We are learning to believe by the experiences of our human lives, but it would be a sad thing if we were only learning something which we should lose when we came to die, even if we exchanged it for something better. Of this we may rest assured, that in learning to trust we are learning for the heavenly and immortal spheres.
III. THE IMMORTALITY OF HOPE. In this life hope seems to change, but in reality it abides, only changing its objects. The old man hopes quite as truly as the young man, though not with the same passionate intensity. The change into the eternal spheres is more evident to the senses, but it is not more real, than the change from the boy to the man; surely in his second, glorified, manhood man wilt keep his power of hoping, only setting it on new and higher and eternal things. If we are still to grow in the eternal world, we must have something ever before us and above us to hope for. If we know that we may become wiser, truer, stronger, holier than we are, we cannot keep from hoping that we may become such. And heaven cannot possibly be a mere stereotyping of the sanctifyings wrought through our Christian life on earth, In seeking, then, for faith, hope, and charity, we are seeking the heavenly treasures, the things that are abiding and eternal. They are the "treasure in the heavens, which faileth not." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.