Faith, Hope and Love Abide

(1 Corinthians 13:13)

There are a few scriptures in the bible that are so well known that many people, even non-Christians know them or recognise them when they hear them. For example, John 3:16 or Psalm 23. And this verse too is another of those that are well known, especially among Christians.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Faith Hope Love
Geometrically speaking, the strongest design that can be made is a triangle. And triangles are used to strengthen many building structures so they do not break or fall. Likewise when someone is trying to be located, authorities will triangulate their position to pinpoint exactly where they might be.

So too this triangle of faith, hope and love is powerful and strong, and in this triangle also the way to Christ and the way of God is located.

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Love Never Ends

(1 Corinthians 13:8-12)

Like the circle of a wedding ring, love never ends
Like the circle of a wedding ring, love never ends

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.

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What Is Love?

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Of all the questions mankind has asked, from poets to philosophers, academics to artists, this is perhaps the most profound and mysterious of all: what is love?

What is love?
What is love?

Love is so fundamental to the human condition that it forms part of our DNA. It is part of our nature to seek, hope for and long to love and to be loved.

No man is an island, as some wise man once wrote, and it is true. To be an island is to be separated and held apart from all others, and the most severe of separations is the separation from love.

But the challenge for all mankind is to learn to understand love not as man sees it, but how God sees it. To be separated from ones fellow man is dire indeed, but to be separated from the love of God is catastrophic, for to be in His love is life, but to be separated from His love is death.

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Power Of Love

(1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

Over my last few posts I have discussed the ministry gifts and spiritual gifts that are given to both individuals and to the church. These gifts are given for the purpose of building up either the individual or the church body as a whole.

Power Of Gods Love

The spiritual gifts are very important. They are critical to the growth and maturity of the church when they are operating correctly.

However, spiritual gifts are not the MOST important thing. They are not the be-all and end-all of the walk we have in Jesus Christ. Paul shows this after discussing the gifts in the previous chapter, which he finishes by saying, “And I will show you a still more excellent way.” So let us now look at what could be better and what is “more excellent” even than the gifts of the holy spirit.

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Desire The Higher Gifts

(1 Corinthians 12:26-31)

The modern church for the most part has watered down the ministries of the new covenant to the point where most of the gifts of ministry have ceased to exist. This is especially true of the miraculous and spiritual gifts of God that He gave to the church for the express purpose of building up the church so that it could stand in the face of opposition.

Gifts

Now I am the first to point out that the gifts are not going to bring anyone to salvation. You do not need to be able to perform miracles, walk on water, speak in tongues, prophesy by the spirit, carry out miraculous hearings or cast out demons to be saved. None of these things are necessary for salvation.

However, the gifts have been provided to the church to help us as we walk with Christ. They are meant to provide insight, spiritual help and guidance as we walk in the faith that will bring us to salvation in Jesus Christ. Thus Paul says here in verse 31,

But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. – (1 Corinthians 12:31)

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Law versus Love

(1 Corinthians 10:23-24)

A number of things come to mind as I read these two verses. First is the stark contrast between the old and the ne covenants, especially as they were interpreted and put into practice by both the Pharisees and Jesus Christ respectively.

Law versus Love
Law versus Love

The Pharisees strictly applied the letter of the law, but without love. Their approach was without compassion, mercy or judgement. On the contrary, Jesus kept the law also but both preached and showed by His actions how it should be interpreted from the basis of faith, mercy, compassion, justice and most importantly, love.

The second thing that occurred to me as I read this is how wrong it is when many so-called Christians deliberately misinterpret the freedom from law we have in Christ Jesus by faith, and promote licentiousness. Paul is quite explicit in these two verses that this is not the purpose or function of freedom from law.

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Empathy

(1 Corinthians 19-23)

It is highly possible that the greatest quality of all that any person needs to exhibit to spread the gospel of the Lord, apart from faith, love and hope of course, is to show empathy towards their fellow man.

Empathy is where we feel WITH another person.
Empathy is where we feel WITH another person.

The apostle Paul knew this and was perhaps one of the greatest ambassadors of empathy that ever lived. This section of scripture clearly shows how through the application of pathway, Paul spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to all men, and still today his words ring true.

Empathy is one of those human emotions that makes us human. It separates us from th animals, and in Christ, it separates us from the world. It is essential to people who work with people in all areas of life from nursing to sales, from customer service to the ministry and from counselling to politics. It is at the root of humanity and how we connect to one another. Without empathy there is no connection. It's that important.

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Walking In Love With Others

In my previous post I wrote about the issue of knowledge versus love and how knowledge puffs up but love builds up. But in spite of this issue, knowledge is essential to our growth and understanding of the ways of the Lord.Walking in Love with Others
In these scriptures today we see how we are to use the knowledge we have cautiously because knowledge can be destructive if used incorrectly. The example Paul uses is in relation to people who have been used to making offerings to idols and eating food offered to idols.

If we are to walk in the path that Jesus Christ set before us, then we need to learn how to walk in love with all people, especially new converts who do not have the knowledge that we may have of the ways of the Lord and are still in their infancy in Christ. The last thing we want to do is to do or say something that might destroy their faith or confuse them. We must learn to walk in love with all people, as Jesus Christ walked in love with the people of His day and with us still today.

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Love versus Knowledge

(1 Corinthians 8:1-3)

Every so often you come up against a scripture you have to spend some time meditating upon. You mull it over and pray over it seeking the fullness of the meaning and asking the Lord to provide insight.

Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up
Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up

Such was the case for me with this set of verses today. I have been thinking about this section of scripture for the past week trying to understand the significance of the words, and seeking to know all there is to know about this section.

I'm still not sure I've got it, but I have seen some things in a different light and will share what I can. Please also, if you see something more that I have missed, then add it into the comments section below. It will be greatly appreciated by me and all those who read this blog.

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Love: The Great Commandment

(Romans 13:8-10)

What is the ultimate expression of the faith and beliefs of a Christian? Is it good works? Is it giving a helping hand when needed? Is it showing our faith is real through the things we do, our behaviours and where we stand when the going gets tough?

Well, all of these things do have a bearing on our Christian life and the walk that we are on with Jesus Christ. All of them are certainly important. But there is a foundation upon which all of these plus many other aspects of the Christian life stand.

That foundation is love. Not love as it is expressed in this world, but the love of God and living a life that reflects His love for us in all we do and say.

God Is Love

Needless to say it is impossible to live a life in Christ unless we express it through the love of God.

The scriptures tell us that God is love and that being true means that He cannot do anything but give His love and show His love to us who are His children.

The opportunity we have to be set free from sin, death and all of the wickedness in this earthly life exists only because God loves us. His grace is nothing more than an expression of His love for anyone who will seek Him out and come to Him to receive His salvation offered through Jesus Christ.

His love also is not like the depictions of love in this world. It is not the soppy mush portrayed in movies and books. It is unique for His love is unlike anything on this earth.

The love of God did not require us to love Him first. He shows that while man was still His enemy He gave man a chance. While man is still a sinner, torn apart by the wretchedness of human passions, emotions and lusts, God offered His grace, and through it His love so that we may be saved.

Furthermore, there is nothing that we can offer in return except ourselves. The Lord Jesus made the point that when He gives us anything it is not as people of the world give. People give to others expecting something in return. But the love of God gives expecting nothing in return for who has anything or can offer anything that would repay God for what He has given to us.

Debt of Love

To that end then we are being trained to love as Christ loved us. We see these sentiments expressed in these verses in Romans 13 saying,

8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)

Do not be indebted to anyone except to love them as God and Jesus Christ first loved us. That is the sum of all we are called to. We are called to love.

We know that when Jesus died He took away our sins. And at the same time He also set us free from the law and ordinances of the old covenant as He issued in the New Covenant age.

But we see in the law the expressions of God's love. The commandments we see above are just a few of the Ten Commandments and as each of these ones as well as most of the rest relate to how we treat the people around us, they are by nature expressions of love.

The great commandment in the law was to love one another just as God loves us.

But now that we are free from law, we are freed from this law also. However, we do not reject what the law tells us. Rather we are at greater pains to uphold the truth of the law and the love of the law because it is the nature of God. We may not be bound under law to love, but we are convinced and convicted by the Holy Spirit to live a life of love for it is the Holy Spirit's role to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ.

So when we are living in the love of God as this scripture informs us, we do not seek to upset, offend or wrong anyone. Instead we seek to help, conciliate, overcome conflicts and seek the peace of God to work in all situations.

This is our call. We are called to be children of God. And to be a child of God is to be a child of love, exhibiting the love of God in us through all that we do and say.

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