Galatians 5:5-6. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
Hope. Faith. Love.
The three Christian graces. The beginning, middle, and end of the Christian life. The three results of our union with Christ. We hope. We have faith. We love. There is no simpler or better way to explain the work of the Spirit in a believer’s heart.
Can you trace the progression of hope, faith and love in your own heart?
Hope is where it all begins. Because of the indwelling life of Christ, we have hope. Hope is not wishing for something (it could happen). Hope is a joyful and confident expectation (it will happen). In the New Testament, hope is assurance. The assurance of union with Christ. The assurance of the indwelling Spirit of God. Paul calls it the hope of righteousness. The assurance that one day Christ will return for us and we will live with him in his love forever. Why? Because we have been made righteous. We have been justified freely by his blood. Our righteousness in Christ is now our hope of being with Christ and God, together where he is, for all eternity.
Our hope, our assurance, then gives birth to faith. By faith we wait for the hope of righteousness. Faith is not a “one and done” for the Christian. Faith is our entire life. We are called to continually trust in this hope of righteousness. Our hope is always there, but we do not always trust it. God has graciously granted to us our hope in Christ. But we must believe it each moment of each day. We have to trust in our union with Christ as our future, rather than trusting that we can actively create a future for ourselves.
In Galatia they placed their faith in law keeping (circumcision). Their hope of righteousness was in their own behaviors and actions that they believed would make them right with God. But there is no room for this in the gospel. There is absolutely no space for faith in the self. There’s no such thing as “I’m better than you” in Christ. Life in the Spirit IS the life of faith. But law keeping requires no faith at all. It requires self-effort, and trying real hard until you are crushed.
But true faith is in the freedom of Jesus’ imputed righteousness. And this faith will take us to the end goal of the Christian life – love.
Here is the Christian life: our hope produces our faith, and our faith produces our love. As Paul says, the only thing that counts is faith working through love. Please understand that Paul is NOT saying that the work of love is added to our faith. But what he is saying is that love is the completion of hope and faith. Faith WILL produce the work of love. How?
When law keeping and performance as our “hope of righteousness” are replaced with Christ and his righteousness alone, we find that now we are gloriously free. Free not only FROM the law, but free TO the law of love. Unconditional love. Not love from reciprocity, attachment, or what I can get out of it. But love from a future hope. Fully and freely giving myself because I know that right now I have Christ’s love, and one day I will have Christ’s everything else. When I know that one day I will have all things, then today I can sacrifice all things for you. I can love you even to the point of death.
“To live is Christ” is hope, faith, and love, with love as the end of all things. Our hope and faith in Christ become Christ’s love in us and through us. And this is the only thing that counts now. Not your works, not your performance, not your religious rituals, disciplines, or deeds. Just fully trusting Christ to the point where you are free to love as he has loved you.
This hope, faith, and love are the only way to live a life that won’t crush you, the abundant life that Jesus promised to all who would trust in him.
Can you see the progression of hope, faith, and love in your life?
You in Christ
In Christ you have all the love of God and all the hope of a future with Jesus. Do you believe this?
Christ in you
How might your hope and faith be completed as works of love today?
Click Here to listen to the playlist on Spotify!
To see today’s post from the TLIC Family blog –> Click Here