| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 20 - Page 14 of 195 Index | Zoom | |
Faith, Love, Hope.
When the apostle speaks of the ministry of Epaphras, what does he select as of
paramount importance? Does he speak of the number on the Church roll? The size of
the offering? Or of any of the features that so often take first place in this statistical age?
No, he brings forward at once "these three", faith, love and hope. It would seem from
this that a faithful ministry will include and specially emphasize these three. When one
meditates on the subject, the question comes, Is there any article of our creed that does
not include faith, hope and love? And we must admit that there is not.
What the apostle commended in the ministry of Epaphras, he has exemplified himself.
Eph. 1: 15-20 deals with "these three": "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith
in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints . . . . . pray for you that . . . . . you may
know what is the hope of His calling." This passage (Eph. 1: 15) differs from Col. 1: 4,
in that the words, "your faith in Christ Jesus" in Col. 1: 4 are a translation of ten pistin
humon Christo esou, while the words, "your faith in the Lord Jesus" of Eph. 1: 15 are a
translation of ten kath humas pistin en to kurio Jesou. Colossians speaks of the believer's
trust in the Lord, whereas in Ephesians the faith is objective--that special "faith", the
"one faith" so closely associated with the "one Lord" in the unity of the Spirit. There is a
possibility that the reference to love in Eph. 1: 15 should be omitted, but we will not
enter into this question here.
We all know the place given to faith, hope and love in I Cor. 13: 13. They remain
when spiritual gifts are done away, and spiritual gifts without them are as tinkling
cymbals and sounding brass.
We meet "these three" together in I Thessalonians:--
"Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of
hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father" (1: 3).
They come singly in three sections of the epistle:--
FAITH.--"We sent . . . . . to comfort you concerning your faith, . . . . . I sent to know
your faith . . . . . brought us good tidings of your faith and love . . . . . we were comforted
by your faith . . . . . praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and perfect that
which is lacking in your faith" (3: 1-10).
LOVE.--"The Lord make you to increase and abound in love . . . . . as touching
brotherly love . . . . . ye are taught of God to love one another" (3: 12 - 4: 12).
HOPE.--"Ye sorrow not, even as others, which have no hope" (4: 13-18).
And all six words come together once more at the close:--
"Let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and
for a helmet, the hope of salvation . . . . . And we beseech you brethren to know them
which labour among you . . . . . esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake
. . . . . be patient toward all men" (5: 8-14).