For Christians, the ultimate goal of faith is salvation. To achieve this goal, the hope of the kingdom of heaven and faith based on such hope are needed. In addition, the practice of faith is the love toward God and neighbors. Therefore, love is possible only when there are the hope of the kingdom of heaven and faith behind it. God considered love as the greatest virtue of believers.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13)
Then, can those who have love only achieve the goal of salvation? The answer is ‘No.’ The Apostle John emphasized faith as of the most importance to get salvation.
… that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:15)
However, it’s hard to reach salvation with faith alone. Today’s Christians fall in this error. An expression of faith requires the hope of the kingdom of heaven.
so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:7)
That is, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven without having the hope of eternal life. ‘The greatest of these are love,’ ‘whoever believes in him may have eternal life,’ ‘we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life’: Among these words, what should we follow to get salvation? Since the greatest is love, is it enough to have love alone? Or, is it okay to have only faith since it’s written, ‘whoever believes in him may have eternal life’?
We must think about organic combination among faith, hope and love. If faith and hope are missing from love, it’s not different from the one who eats sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl) after separating salt (NaCl) into each element (Na and Cl.) When edible salt is divided into sodium and chlorine, they become harmful materials. Therefore, we can achieve the goal of salvation by practicing love based on faith and hope.
In addition, there is one thing we should remember: Love toward God must be go first with regard to the practice of love. Loving neighbors based on such love is the whole duty of Christians.
Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Are there any Christians who do not love God? However, love with lips only is not love which loves God.
If you love me, you will obey what I command. (John 14:15)
Salvation begins with obeying God’s commandments. Obeying what God commanded enables us to love Him and is the top priority of believers who wish to enter the kingdom of heaven.