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A Glimpse Into Eternity: Faith Hope and Love

Pro. Jeremiah Shepherd

Introduction

God’s perfect justice is humanly inconceivable. Through his omniscience, He judges with a level of fairness that is impossible for us to fully understand. Not only Is the Lord knowledgeable about all things, He is also infinitely wise, able to deliver rewards when they are earned and punishment when it is deserved. His benevolence is unrivaled, and His restraint is unmatched. When we consider the position and responsibility of One who upholds the fabric of the universe, the fact that all has not degenerated into destruction provides plenty evidence that we should continue to trust Him in all things.

All in all, the Lord is a perfect overseer of everything that has originated from Him. Because we are born into the order of God’s creation, having known no other way, we often take it for granted, but consider the alternative. An existence without God is no existence at all, and the universal law and order we currently dwell in would vanish into nothing. Even our greatest distresses are controlled and limited. For, if they weren’t, our sanity would simply fail. We are only able to find hope and resolve through the structure of evidence He has created.

Our rationality is rooted in the normality of creation, and our ability to make sense of anything is anchored to the stability He’s built into our surroundings. How discomforting would it be if the sun rose without pattern or regularity? How unsettled would our minds be if there were no seasons or if they occurred without consistent order. Needless to say, life would be a lot more unpredictable, our livelihoods would be unmanageable and the lack of normalcy would make hardship unbearable. The dependability of the Lord’s work is the foundation of all faith.

Sometimes, we need slight reminders that God perfectly holds things together. Though we would never ask for it, it is occasionally healthy for us to get a glimpse into how things would be without our Heavenly Father, at least until our appreciation for His grace is perfected. Though He never let’s us go, completely, He does let us see into a life without His provision and protection.

As we mature, we learn that our tribulation has reason, and our trouble has purpose. The more we endure hardship, the more we should learn to trust God. We would say there is a method to our madness, but God would say there is a long-term goal to His perfect love.

God Is Just

One of the greatest examples of God’s immaculate control is on full display through the method in which He accomplished salvation.

Romans 5:18-19 18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

In the beginning God allowed all of mankind, even men in the future, to fall under the penalty of one man’s sin. If we were present at the time, we would have screamed at the apparent unfairness of such a judgment, but we would have also been ignorant of the greater plan God had in store. Had God not allowed man to fall under sin through one man, Adam, He would have been unjust to impute righteousness unto us through one man, Jesus. Satan would have inevitably cried foul, and God would have ceased to be perfect.

We need to remember it all, that God is good but that He is also just. The intentions of our heart don’t go unnoticed, and our works don’t go unrecorded. He sees all, knows all, and through His knowledge, orchestrates the universe to perfection and, thankfully, for our benefit. We must reap what we sow, but in the end, there is an eternal hope of salvation that supersedes all things.

Making the Blind to See

Now in humanity’s time of crisis, there is a two-fold message from the throne of God: Behold, His severity, but also His Goodness…

Romans 11:22 22Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God…

Mankind has been given abundant opportunity to respond to the evidence of God’s existence and sovereignty. All men, especially those of the household of faith, must always consider the severity of God, His wrath and His judgement. To reject His Son is tantamount to an eternal death sentence, and we must be cognizant of the distractions Satan uses to entice men into doing so. Still, it is more important to understand what God’s desires are for us. Until sin is removed, and His kingdom is come in fulness, we operate with limited clarity of God’s purpose, but Jesus ultimately wants us to see Him without hindrance. For when we do, we will be like Him.

1 John 3:2-3 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Without Jesus, we are completely, spiritually blind. We are unable to see the mysteries of God or the beauty of what’s in store for us. However, when Jesus came, died and was risen, He provided His followers with a glimpse into our Father’s plans for our future. Even in the sin-clouded state of our earthly existence, we are often blessed with a glimpse into the eternal glory that God has prepared for us. Amazingly, two stories of Jesus healing blind men are prophetic expressions of our journey back to spiritual clarity.

John 9:1-7 and as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

In this story, there is a man who was blind from birth. The disciples suspected that his blindness was a result of his parent’s sin, but Jesus made it known that it was for the purpose of revealing the works of God. In other words, there was a powerful, deeper revelatory purpose for the physical ailment of this man, blind from birth, and that purpose was to be demonstrated through the process of His miracle.

Jesus spit on the dirt, and made clay, the same material that houses our inward man. With the clay, Jesus covered the man’s eyes, and this is a prophetic demonstration of how our fleshly bodies limit our spiritual insight. After washing and removing the clay, the man who had always been blind was now able to see. Thus, this means we will be able to see when our carnal bodies of clay no longer obstruct our spirit’s view.

In yet another miracle performed on a blind man, Jesus provides additional spiritual clarity.

Mark 8:22-26 22And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. 23And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. 24And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. 25After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. 26And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.

This time, Jesus leads the blind man out of town before performing the miracle, seeming to insinuate that a removal from the noise of unbelief is necessary to receive spiritual vision. However, this time, Jesus spits directly on the man’s eyes, and the first thing he sees is men as trees walking. Finally, after Jesus puts His hands on him again, the man is able to see everything.

Isn’t interesting that those who currently walk in the spirit judge men by their fruit, which grows on trees? Is it a coincidence that the man saw trees walking first? As believers in Christ, we are commanded to judge and know men by their fruit, and the first fruit of the spirit is love.

Matthew 7:15-17 King James Version (KJV) 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Galatians 5:22-23 King James Version (KJV) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The whole scenario of this blind man’s healing appears to demonstrate our transitional process from complete, spiritual blindness through the partial clarity we now experience into the fully restored ability to see Jesus as He truly is, in our glorified bodies.

Our Limited Vision/ We Know “In Part”

And what of that “partial clarity”? Remember, we are still on the path to discovering why God created everything in the first place, especially us. We are in the process of being matured into an appreciation of God’s perfection. But for now, we have been given partial insight into the eternal glory reserved for us with a command to have faith. Our partial sight is visibly demonstrated through the existence of our spiritual gifts. They are uniquely present in us all, existing to maintain the revelation of Christ until He is made a manifestation unto all men.

1 Corinthians 12:4-31 King James Version (KJV) 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

We must remember the importance of love, that God is love. If all other gifts exist to reveal the Lord, all of these gifts serve the purpose of revealing love! This agape kind of love is the character of God, and the point of Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 12-13 is to emphasize its priority above all of the other gifts. While men clamor for the most popular or glamorous spiritual gifts, Paul sarcastically says that they are all just noise if love is not driving force behind them.

In the end, it is love that God want us to see—an understanding of just how great it is. The full discovery of God’s love is the present hope of our faith.

An imbalanced emphasis on working with spiritual gifts is like a miner falling in love with his shovel.

Our gifts are our tools, our faith is our strength and our hope is what we’re working for. When we discover our hope, which is the fullness of God’s love, we dispose of our tools but and our faith in Him remains.

What is Hope, and what is it’s difference from faith?

Have you ever wondered about the Biblical difference between Hope and Faith. 1 Cor. 13 talks about the eternal existence of Faith, Hope and Love, so they must be substantially distinct in order to represent two of the three things listed.

Hope, in an everyday sense, is simply a strong desire and expectation for something to happen. But in a Biblical sense, hope is placed in the promises of God making it more of certainty of some future thing. And therein lies the aspect of hope that differentiates it from faith. Hope is always based on or placed in a future manifestation, whereas faith first applies to trust in a current truth. Faith trusts that something “is so” while hope believes that something “will be”. It is possible to have a non-biblical variety of hope, but it is empty and unresolved without faith. But hope, as it is referred to in scripture, cannot exist without faith.

Our hope is our expectation of a future outcome promised by our faithful Father in heaven, and our faith is our current belief in who our Father already is. Our faith gives strength to our hope, but hope without faith is simply a wish.

Faith is an indication that God’s promises of a better future are, indeed, true. Faith is not an invisible belief elixir applied to magically manifest our innermost desires and dreams! Faith itself is tangible, observable behavior that witnesses and testifies that God’s promises of a greater eternity are true.

  • Faith is a trust in God that always corresponds to evidential behavior.
  • Faith doesn’t exist without works, but works can exist without faith
  • Faith makes an unbeliever inquire about your convictions.
  • Now, faith is only ever seen in the context of competing doubt

1 Corinthians 13:2-7 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

A Glimpse Into Eternity

1 Corinthians 13:8-13 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

1 Corinthians 13:13 “13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

And now for the beautiful concluding revelation of 1 Corinthians 13. When our earthly journey is finished, and we have been transformed into our glorious bodies, faith, hope and love will remain. It’s easy to understand that love will always exist, especially since God is love, but why will we still need hope and faith? The answer is beautiful.

Now, we only know faith in the context of competing doubt, but trusting God and his plan for our future is something we will do forever. The difference, then, will be the absence of doubt to dispute the word of God. Therefore, A true understanding of 1 Cor. 13:13 NLT suggests that we will forever be looking forward to God’s “next big thing”, only sin won’t be there to destroy that truth. God will always have some future hope for us to have faith in, and we will immediately know it to be true.

Consider the wonder of eternity. We will never have a boring and monotonous existence (1 Cor 2:9). Eternal life will get better and better forever. Image a life that begins amazingly and only improves in perpetuity. That is the life we will live. God will lovingly create new hope in which we will immediately believe by faith absent of all doubt, and we will see the multiplied manifestation of His Glory forever.

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