Of all the great virtues that can be listed, and there are indeed many — the three greatest are Faith, Hope, and Love. It is to these three things that all mankind aspires, for Life is at its best and brightest when these three combine together and lift us above and beyond the lures and limits of lesser things.
Without Faith, our lives began to diminish with the increase of gnawing doubts and mounting suspicions. We lose the innocence and sense of wonder that makes dreams come true. One must believe in order to be living. “My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay; while some may dwell where these abound, my prayer, my aim is higher ground!”
Without Hope, our lives are ravaged and life becomes a foreboding haze of disappointments and disillusionments, penetrating our souls like a foul vapor of toxic poisoning — making us sick, lethargic, indifferent, and cynical.
And without Love, life is reduced to solitary confinement in a prison called Fear; where isolation robs us of vitality and vigor; and where bitterness wrecks havoc with all of our relationships.
Pity the man or woman whose heart is closed to Faith, Hope and Love. Now abideth faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love — and I’ll tell you why. Faith is a power, and Hope is a promise.
But Love is a Person. Jesus Christ-who expressed the love of God for a world darkened in sin-giving himself a living sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary, rising again from the dead, and becoming the Redeemer of mankind. (Rylisms)
From Adam Clarke:
And now [in this present life] abideth faith, hope, charity - These three supply the place of that direct vision which no human embodied spirit can have; these abide or remain for the present state. Faith, by which we apprehend spiritual blessings, and walk with God. Hope, by which we view and expect eternal blessedness, and pass through things temporal so as not to lose those which are eternal. Charity or love, by which we show forth the virtues of the grace which we receive by faith in living a life of obedience to God, and of good will and usefulness to man.
But the greatest of these is charity - Without faith it is impossible to please God; and without it, we can not partake of the grace of our Lord Jesus: without hope we could not endure, as seeing him who is invisible; nor have any adequate notion of the eternal world; nor bear up under the afflictions and difficulties of life: but great and useful and indispensably necessary as these are, yet charity or love is greater: Love is the fulfilling of the law; but this is never said of faith or hope.
1. Love is properly the image of God in the soul; for God is Love. By faith we receive from our Maker; by hope we expect a future and eternal good; but by love we resemble God; and by it alone are we qualified to enjoy heaven, and be one with him throughout eternity. Faith, says one, is the foundation of the Christian life, and of good works; hope rears the superstructure; but love finishes, completes, and crowns it in a blessed eternity. Faith and hope respect ourselves alone; love takes in both God and Man. Faith helps, and hope sustains us; but love to God and man makes us obedient and useful. This one consideration is sufficient to show that love is greater than either faith or hope.
1Co 13:2 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.
1Co 13:3 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.
1Co 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
1Co 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
1Co 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
1Co 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1Co 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.
1Co 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
1Co 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
1Co 13:11 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.
1Co 13:12 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.
1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Faith, hope, love - Are the sum of perfection on earth; love alone is the sum of perfection in heaven.- John Wesley