Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:13
Yesterday I made a number of comments as to why these three, faith, hope, and love will last forever. Paul himself says “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful . . . ”
This gives us a hint why in Paul’s mind he can say Love is the greatest. Love actually embodies the other two qualities. Yes it may be that Paul had in the mind the Judaic quote “wisdom, fear, humility, they are alike, but humility is greater than them all”. But as far as I am concerned there the significance ends. Maybe it did remind Paul of the concept but he has totally changed the qualities.
Yes probably all of us would say Love is the greatest. Aside from what we say, God says ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ And He commands us to “love your neighbour as yourself”.
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.1 John 4:7-8
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.1 John 4:16
It is clear from God’s point of view that Love is the greatest. Those who say by love we resemble God are correct.
But there is another side to all this. Go back to the passage. Remember that Paul is talking about the gifts and he has just said (13:8) that prophecy, tongues words of knowledge will pass away but love will never pass away. He told us at the end of the previous chapter and in this chapter that there is a better way. Love is the better way. Love is indeed the greatest of all. We would all agree. But do you see it is part of Paul’s logical argument as well. If indeed these three qualities will never pass away, and they are essentially all incorporated in love then Love is the best way. And it is God’s way.
If these gifts are all going to pass away when He returns again and if love is never going to pass away then concentrate on that quality that is the greater. LOVE. Corinthians / you, begin to practise love in the midst of your gifts: help each other, live in harmony, love one another. Practise love – be patient, kind. Don’t be jealous of each others gifts, don’t boast about your gift. Don’t be proud or rude towards another brother or sister if they don’t have the same gift as you. Don’t demand your own way. Don’t be irritable, and keep no record when others wrong you. Don’t rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Never give up, never lose faith, always be hopeful, and endure through every circumstance till the end – that moment when He appears again.
Love never fails and will endure forever. It is eternal because it part of God. Gifts will ultimately pass away and will be superfluous. So therefore Love must be the better way. Certainly better than squabbling about the gifts. Concentrate on that, do it. Build up the body, think of others.
Your child needs your love the most when they deserve it the least.Anon
Your friend needs your love the most when they deserve it the least.Anon
Your fellow believer needs your love the most when they deserve it the least.Anon
Your enemy needs your love the most when they deserve it the least.Anon