(1 Corinthians 13:8-12)
Everything pertaining to this world and this life are temporary. Even the earth, sun, stars and the universe are only temporary. Everything we can see, everything we know will not last.
Except for God's love.
Only love is eternal and only God's love never ends. His love goes on forever and ever because God is love and He is eternal.
The Temporary Nature of this World
There are a number of scriptures that point to the fact that this world and everything in it will not remain. For instance,
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope – (Romans 8:20)
This creation of God that we live in has been subjected to futility. It is meant to wear out and die. It is meant to be temporary for God has willed it to be so. The reason why is that when all has been accomplished and all the plan of God has been completed, God will create a new heavens and a new earth that will not wear out where man will live with God eternally.
10 And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11 they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, 12 like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” – (Hebrews 1:10-12)
Here again we see in the prophesies given by God that the heavens and earth will wear out and will be rolled up like an old rag and be thrown away. All that exists in this universe will perish, but God and Jesus, who this scripture is speaking of, will remain. God the Father is love, Jesus is the image of the Father and He too is love and they remain forever.
So we see that all this physical realm, all the eye can see to the ends of the universe will cease to exist.
But what about the gifts of God?
In this section of scripture in 1 Corinthians 13 we also note that the gifts God gives to men and to the church will also cease to be. Note these words,
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. – (1 Corinthians 13:8-12)
Look at the gifts that God gives to men and to the church: prophecy, tongues and knowledge. This verse tells us that these will pass away and will cease.
Two critical questions come to mind as I read these verses. The first is why? And the second is when?
If we look at when these will pass away we are given the answer in verse 10. These gifts pass away and will cease when we are perfected in Jesus Christ. When the perfect comes, that is when we are perfected, then these things will pass away and will cease. The scripture in verse 9 tells us that currently our prophecy and our knowledge are not yet perfect but are only in “part” indicating they are only partially in place.
Who has perfect knowledge? Who has perfect prophesy? Who has perfect insight? Currently no man can claim to have these things in perfection and so they have not yet passed away because we are not yet perfected. But when we are perfected in Jesus Christ, which will occur after His second coming when all things are made new, and as we are prepared for life with Jesus and the Father, then these things will pass away.
And this brings us to the reason why these things will pass away. When we are perfected in Jesus Christ, perfected in love in God the Father, we will no longer need prophecy, knowledge, insight and the rest of the gifts. We will not need tongues once we are perfected either because one of the primary purposes of tongues is to aid us walk in the spirit which will bring us to perfection. As we walk in the spirit we put to death the deeds of the flesh with it's passions, lusts and desires. And when these are controlled and we have victory over sin and the passions of the flesh, we have perfection.
As an aside, you will note that the scripture above says that our prophecy and knowledge are in part, that is, imperfect, but it does not say tongues are imperfect. Why? Because tongues are of the Holy Spirit working through us in accordance with the perfect will of God to bring us to perfection. Tongues will cease when man is made perfect in the image of Jesus Christ, but until that time they are needed to assist us fight the passions and desires of our flesh that would lead us astray.
Finally we see in verses 11 and 12 that we are still in the process of being perfected. We know in part, that is we have partial knowledge, but we do not have complete and perfect knowledge. That is why Paul compares our current state to that of children who still have much to learn. That is why he says we only have a dim insight of the fulness of God's will like looking into a faded mirror.
But when the work in us is complete, we will see fully and the total light of the glory of God. We will fully understand His work, His will and His love for we will walk in the totality of the love of God. But until then we walk by faith, not by sight as we toil towards the salvation of Jesus and the transformation into the image of Christ and the love of God.
As I read these scriptures I saw also another aspect to this point that “love never ends.” Consider for a moment these words Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus.
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – (Ephesians 3:14-19)
Paul shows that the love of Christ surpasses all knowledge. The love of God is infinite in His blessings and grace towards us. And we need the strength of the power of the Holy Spirit to comprehend the height, depth, breadth and length of God's love.
We cannot understand or even begin to understand the fulness of God's love for us in Jesus Christ except by the strength of the power of the Holy Spirit.
And God's love is infinite. How far can a person go wrong that God in His love would not be prepared to have compassion, mercy and forgiveness when they repent? How deep and how great is the love of God who in His grace chose to overlook all our sins and faults and who continues to do so in order that we might find life? How great that He sent His only begotten Son to die that we might find salvation? Is there anything that God will not do to help us find the way to life?
No. There is no depth that His love would not fathom nor height that His love will not reach to in order to give every chance to those who seek Him through Jesus Christ.
So we see that there are two ways in which God's love never ends. First, it goes on to eternity. It is infinite and is the only thing that will last forever. And second, His love for His children will never run out. While we seek Him and seek to do the will of God, He gives His love and His grace in unlimited amounts. There is no bottom to God's love, no beginning and no end for as God is love it can be no other way. Love never ends.