1 Corinthians 13 : 13
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
The gospel is this:
God created everything that is, and it was good. The jewel of that creation was man, made in His very image. Then man sinned, and the wages of sin is death. Thus, man was separated from the Lord. There was not, and is not, one man unaffected; not one man that does good in and of himself. We cannot bridge the chasm that was created even with our very best efforts.
At the proper time, Jesus Christ came in the flesh and lived a perfect life, teaching many and closely discipling a few. As it was written, Christ was crucified, an innocent God-man. The people saw Him and rejected Him. On that cross, the perfect blood of the spotless Lamb atoned for the sins of many. He remained in His grave only 3 days, and then rose again, defeating death. In this, He created a way for us to evade the eternal death that our sin earns us, and to instead come into reconciliation with our Creator and Father. We need only put our faith in Him, and follow.
Faith is our access.
Through our faith in Him, we are saved and are given new life. But this faith is given to us- we cannot create it in ourselves! In it, we receive access to our loving God and all that that entails. In it, we continue to walk with our Father.
Hope is what we get.
We are given promises for today, and promises for the future that allow us to hope. And unlike the temporary things that we put our hope in before Christ, this hope will not disappoint! In this hope, we rejoice.
Love is what we experience; and that same love is how we respond.
The Christ that we now see and believe in is the picture of pure and perfect love. This love is not the same kind of worldly love which we knew before Christ. It is not only emotional, and not only about consuming or receiving in return.
This love is selfless and unwavering. By His grace, through our faith, we are able to receive this love, and in turn extend this love to others. And it is not in begrudging obedience that we love, for we are now delighted to show His love to all. He commands us to do all things in love, and gives us all the power and ability to do so.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,
but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,
but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love will be the marker of the true believer. Without love, it is not of Him.