Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Assorted Treats

  • Balance +

    In writing about Spirit Filled Spirituality Boa discusses Walking in the Power of the Spirit, Gifts of the Spirit, and Read More
  • Soul Farmers +

    Worshipping God in spirit and truth begins with a willingness to participate with God’s spirit in changing who we are. Read More
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Don  Carsonhttp://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/1-kings/14.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/colossians/1.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/ezekiel/44.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/psalms/passage.aspx?q=psalm+97;psalm+98

1 Kings 14; Colossians 1; Ezekiel 44; Psalms 97–98

FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE are together sometimes referred to as the Pauline triad. They occur in Paul's letters in various combinations. Sometimes only two of the three show up; sometimes all three.

Probably the best known verse with the Pauline triad is 1 Corinthians 13:13: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." Here no relationship is expressed among the three. Paul tells us that these three virtues—faith, hope, and love (and this last one he calls "the most excellent way" [1 Cor. 12:31b; see the September 8 meditation] rather than a "gift")—all "remain": what he means, I think, is that these all remain into eternity, and therefore should be nurtured and pursued even now. But the greatest of these three, Paul insists, is love. Why this is so, Paul does not tell us. Based on what the New Testament says elsewhere, we might reasonably hold that the reason why love is the greatest is that it is an attribute of God. God does not exercise faith; he does not "hope" in the sense of looking forward to the fulfillment of something that some other brings about. But he does love: indeed, 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love; no text says he is faith or hope. So the greatest of the three is love.

Here in Colossians 1:3–6, however, the relationship among the three elements of the Pauline triad is quite different. Paul thanks God when he prays for the Colossians, he says, "because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints—the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you" (Col. 1:4–6). This NIV rendering is slightly paraphrastic, but it catches the sense very well. Note:

(1) Paul did not plant the Colossian church. But now that he has come to hear of these believers, he prays for them constantly, with thanksgiving.

(2) What Paul has heard of these Colossian believers is their faith and love, both demonstrable virtues. If you have faith in Jesus, and if you love the saints, neither virtue can be hidden. These virtues were so evident among the Colossians that reports of their faith and love circulated to Paul. Do reports of the faith and love of our churches circulate widely?

(3) Paul says this faith and love "spring from the hope" that is stored up for them (Col. 1:5). Living with eternity in view vitalizes faith and calls forth love.

(4) This hope that has grounded their faith and love has itself been grounded in the Gospel, the word of truth that was preached to them (Col. 1:5–6).

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

  • River of Love

    There's a river of love that runs through all timeBut there's a river of grief that floods through our livesIt Read More
  • I Am Nothing

    I stutter when I tryTo speak the language of lifeI want to shout out loudBut I just cry insideSometimes it Read More
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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • Transforming this World: The Hope of Glory by NT Wright +

    Wright confronts the perspective that this world doesn’t matter, and that we live only to be in heaven. He shows Read More
  • What is Good in a World that Defies Hope: a talk by NT Wright +

    This is the second part of three talks by NT Wright at Harvard University in November, 2008 on the topic Read More
  • The Stream, the Lake and the River: NT Wright +

      Acts 2.1-21; John 7.37-39; a sermon at the Eucharist on the Feast of Pentecost, 11 May 2008, by the Read More
  • Jesus in the Perfect Storm by NT Wright +

    Zechariah 9.9-17; Luke 19.28-48; A sermon for Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011, In the University Chapel of St Salvator, St Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Christ is a Great Savior: a review of the movie Amazing Grace +

    Amazing Grace is a historical drama about William Wilberforce who was elected to British Parliament at the age of 21 Read More
  • Wilberforce, Hollywood's Amazing Grace, Charlotte Allen +

    William Wilberforce's relentless campaign eventually led the British Parliament to ban the slave trade, in 1807, and to pass a Read More
  • Making Beauty out of Ugly Things: Grace by U2 +

    Grace, she takes the blame She covers the shame Removes the stain It could be her name Grace, she carries Read More
  • The True Nature of Grace and Love: a movie review of the Soloist +

    The 2009 movie The Soloist is based on a book by the same name, written by Los Angeles Times columnist Read More
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