Things That Last

W. Terry Varner
April 28, 2013

It is right and proper to pursue things, but it is important to pursue things that last. We have things today that are gone by tomorrow, but these often do not last value. However, men ought to pursue those things that last today, tomorrow, and forever. Isaiah reminds us of this in his words: “The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand forever” (Isa. 40:8). When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he wrote: “Now abide faith, hope, and love” (1 Cor. 13:13). Paul uses three nouns—faith, hope, and love—and couples them with a singular verb—abide stating that these do not fail, nor change, and are lastingly important in life.

Faith lasts. Paul writes much about the subject of Faith. He declares that “the just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17) and that man is “justified by faith” (Rom. 5:1). Man’s “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Faith is the rational spiritual ingredient for the Christian. It serves as the channel through which God’s righteousness pours into our soul. God uses man’s faith as an avenue to the heart of man. The Scripture makes faith the basis for the entire doctrine of Christianity. Paul preached the faith he once destroyed (Gal. 1:23) and Jude writes that Christians are to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered” (Jude 3). James reminds us: “Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone” (James 1:17). Faith is the spirit of confidence and courage in the Almighty and His promises. It was this kind of faith that caused that Job to say, “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).

Hope lasts. Why is hope ranked so high that Paul places it on the level with man’s faith and love in 1 Corinthians 13:13? We understand faith and love, but what is so unique about the Christian’s hope? To so many, sometimes sadly to Christians, hope is elusive and treacherous. It tempts one at times to feel self-secure. Consider the role of hope in life. “For we are saved by hope” (Rom. 8:24). Hope is spoken of as a reward for our service in Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 9:10). Hope of life eternal has the promises of a new body and dwelling place. This is understood by “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that sleep” (1 Cor. 15:19-20). The apostle Peter reminds us there are reasons for our hope, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). Our hope serves us as “an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast” (Heb. 6:19).

Love lasts. When Paul wrote of the three things that last, he said, “the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13). Love is one way the Bible describes God. “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). God’s love is begotten in our heart and acted out in life by our words and deeds toward God and fellowman. The first commandment of man is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt.22:37). The second commandment is “you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:39).

Faith speaks of the gospel we believe. Hope speaks of the resurrection from the dead. Love speaks of that which we have toward God for His providence and support in life.