The gospel is pleasantly simple; combined with faith, hope, and love, we can meet the requirements of discipleship and live an abundant life in Christ.
Jesus produced the fruit of faith, hope, and love when He walked upon the earth demonstrating the kingdom of God in compassion and power. His disciples learned to do the same, daily adding souls to the kingdom of God through the Lord’s instructions. These simple traits distinguish the gospel from other supposed ‘faiths’ yet in their simplicity, they produce abundant living.
Christianity is also the only faith that makes love the cornerstone of its foundation. No matter how gifted, talented or intelligent we may be, without love, the Bible says our efforts are meaningless (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Secondly, God is love and Christianity is the only true faith established by God Himself.
Faith is a Spiritual Law
Faith is a spiritual law and it works for those who choose to exercise it; however, biblical faith is the only faith recognized by the Kingdom of Heaven. While other religions may also require faith to believe for what is desired, those religions are not established by the God of the Bible. Religions operating outside the true faith place an emphasis on the rules of science or human reasoning over the supernatural power of the gospel.
Some religions require the use of repetitive chants claiming to provide the recipient with validation or recognition if performed often enough. In the case of those practicing the occult, spells are required to produce results. Practitioners in the occult believe in the supernatural and interact with the spirit realm but their motivation is demonic. Ironically, in order to advance in the occult, Satan also requires his servants to operate by faith. (After all, He is a thief and a copycat who creates absolutely nothing).
Other religions may also base spiritual advancement upon the number of works one produces or on the number of spiritual levels one ascends to as they pursue enlightenment. In either of these situations, whether the motive for results is godly or not, outcomes are achieved by faith.
The Contrast of Christian Faith
In contrast to other religions, Christian faith emphasizes belief in God and His Son Jesus, Christ. The reward for those who believe is eternal life. In Christianity, enlightenment is revelation; it’s the result of seeking God first, spending time with Holy Spirit, and reading the Bible. Validation and recognition, if any, comes from believing God is and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
In Christianity, we seek Him, and not some form of enlightenment. Maturity and revelation occur when we seek Him with the whole heart. Furthermore, in the kingdom of God, reward and promotion isn’t based upon our works. Our works are merely a manifestation of our love for Him. When we seek to be like Him, we automatically produce works that bear heavenly fruit representing our efforts. Prayer is another way we mature in faith to become more like Him.
The Substance of Faith
Faith is a spiritual substance meant to benefit the Church of Jesus Christ; it is also the basis of our prayers. Faith is what pleases God (Hebrews 11:6) and faith is the foundation of our messaging as believers. God is moved by faith, not chants or human attempts to attain lofty spiritual realizations through rituals and vain repetitions. It’s the prayer of faith that heals the sick and raises the dead. Faith is the message and we have to work faith in order to receive anything from God.
God formed faith and He is the author and finisher of faith (Hebrews 12:2). It is by faith we believe in Salvation and by faith we believe for healing, deliverance, and provision. Redemption itself is acquired by faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1), but without hope, it’s difficult to activate faith.
Hope Activates Faith
For the Christian, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17), but faith is dormant without hope. The Christian faith requires hope in order to activate faith. Hope is waiting on or for something or someone with expectancy and anticipation. For example, we wait for the glorious appearing of our King in the clouds. We have hope in the coming of the Lord and we expect the great catching away the Bible promises to those who believe in His appearing (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Even though we haven’t experienced the “catching away” as promised in the Bible, we hope in this promise eagerly awaiting this future event.
Hope Sustains Us
Hope is what sustains us as we wait for the manifestation of prayers. Consider healing, not all healing is instantaneous; sometimes healing is a process. Scripture bears this out in several places after Jesus prayed for the sick. Until healing manifests, hope is what stokes the flames of faith while we trust the Spirit of the Lord to touch our bodies or the bodies of loved ones.
Hope is the anchor that keeps our hearts fixed upon Jesus and His promise to be faithful when circumstances bring us to our knees. Hope also positions us to believe for the Salvation of others and it supports our ability to believe for the impossible. Additionally, during times of conflict or great sorrow, hope is what enables us to press on. We persevere and continue in His Word because hope promises a reward at the end of great trials and long delays.
Hope supports faith and faith is the manifestation of hope. Faith produces what we hope for, but faith and hope cannot exercise their full measure without love.
Faith Commands We Love
The Christian faith is the only faith that cherishes, promotes and commands love. We are commanded to love God and love those made in His image. We’re commissioned to promote the love of Christ, who died for our freedom and yearns for all to receive Him as Savior. We’re expected to cherish His love just as we cherish the sacrifice made for us when Jesus took up the Cross to save us from eternal death.
Love is a condition of faith; without it, prayers are hindered, returns are minimal, and growth is stunted. Loving God and loving one another are the two most important commandments in the Scripture. In other ‘faiths’, unless the focus is self-love, love is not a condition for receiving anything.
“and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31, NASB).
Demonstrating the Love of God
Loving one another demonstrates the love of God in the earth. Demonstrating the love of God separates the Christian faith from other faiths. Religion that falls outside the perimeters of Christianity may instruct devotees to do good works or respect their fellow man, but they don’t necessarily instruct the pupil to love. Likewise, other religions may teach a person how to ‘center themselves’ to receive something positive from ‘the universe’ but the universe doesn’t carry or produce love. Only the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob embodies love and He holds the universe.
God has created all we see and know. He expresses His love through humans made in His image. Our very existence as humans is rooted in that love. God is love and we ultimately experience the fullness of that love through Jesus.
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God and God lives in them (1 John 4:16, NLT).
Every individual is made in love by God. As beings created by God from love and in love, every person has the capacity to love. God has placed that capacity within us. If we don’t love then we’re essentially rejecting God who is love, and the loveless will not inherit eternal life. (Consequently, this is one reason eternal damnation exists for those who reject God.) We cannot reject love Himself and enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Simply put, when we love God and love others as we love ourselves, we meet His condition of faith.
Love is the Vehicle
Love is the vehicle that allows hope to form and faith to produce. Unless we have love, faith is just a religious mechanism people can use to get what they want for their own consumption and gratification. Faith is a powerful tool that shifts circumstances; but when it’s used outside the kingdom of God, it’s a recipe for sordid gain and self-promotion. Gaining reputation, influence or increase without loving God and loving others is a recipe for disaster. Hell is filled with people that have misused the gospel for personal profit and self-aggrandizement.
When Faith is Misused
Without love, faith can be misused – billions of dollars gained by the willful acts of false and misleading preachers is proof. Sadly, many children of faith have been conned by people having a form of godliness while living no differently than the lost. These charlatans tout faith to deceive honest people.
Whether motives are good or bad, faith is a spiritual law that can be put into practice by anyone who catches the revelation of its power. Unfortunately, when faith is exploited, well-meaning people may fall victim to another’s misdeeds. Nonetheless, God remembers those who show love and give in love even if the recipient is unrighteous. After wrongdoing, we have hope God will recompense—and if we remain in love, we have faith He will repay.
Hope is the Conductor of Faith
Faith cannot produce anything without hope. For the believer in Jesus Christ, hope is the conductor of faith. Hope determines how we believe God for something.
The Bible says hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12). When hope is dashed by circumstance, hardship, or disappointment, its connection to faith is broken. If our faith is broken, we may give up on God’s promises or stop believing in the power of prayer. God knows this can happen and He provides His Word to sustain us when we’re in a season of waiting or delay. We persevere until we receive the outcome we have requested from Him. Meanwhile, we rely on hope until we have the results of faith.
Wishful Thinking Isn’t Faith
Hope sustains us as we wait for the fruit of our faith to manifest. Without hope, we’re left with wishful thinking and wishful thinking isn’t faith. Hope and faith are synonymous with belief and manifestation. Both are required to receive what we will from God; but without love to gird our hope and faith, our rewards if any will be small.
The size of our rewards is contingent upon the scope of our love. The more we love Him and love one another, the capacity to receive from God becomes greater and it’s always His joy to bless us with abundance.
A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow (John 10:10, TPT).
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever (Ephesians 3:20-21, NASB ).
Love Holds Everything Together
God’s love holds everything together; without His love, the world and all that is within it would cease to be. His love is the impetus for the human idea: men and women made in His image by love. God is the giver of love, the purveyor of hope, and the constructor of faith. He is the First and the Last (Revelation 22:13). He is the one and only TRUE and living God—the Greatest Love of all.
Any other so-called faith is an inconsequential and greatly diminished version of the faith He originates. The faith, hope, and love He establishes are carefully fashioned with thought and divine wisdom. We’re recipients of His love and our love is perfected when we pursue Him.
Perfected in Love
Graciously, He has chosen to make us the recipients of His vast love. We love Him because He first loved us; through the death of His only Begotten Son, He demonstrates the depth of that love. He is the great I Am, the marvelous Creator, who values us more highly than we deserve.
Interestingly, His esteem for us requires that He too demonstrates faith and hope to receive a desired outcome. He places no expectations upon us that He himself hasn’t also borne (Hebrews 4:15). We’re people with free will and He will not force His love upon us; to win our hearts, He must also put faith and hope into action. No matter the cost, He is always holding out hope for the human race.
Faith, Hope and Love
Nothing is greater than love.
But now faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13, NASB).
Perfectly, God sets in motion the simplicity of the gospel—hoping the human race will receive His love through Jesus by faith—so He can bless them abundantly beyond all they can ask or imagine.
©2021, What You Will
Interested in more content about the simplicity of the gospel? Read Showing Up: Beth Fisher on Hope and Relationships, another anointed author on Life Network for Women.
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