Archive for February 5th, 2020

1 Corinthians 13:8-10

In 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 Paul puts the nail in the discussion around love and what it is with three powerful words: “Love never ends.” Wow, that’s about as definitive as it can be. Love is amazing and great and is described in detail by things it is not, and things that it is. Paul makes it clear what agape love truly is. But in human terms, the fact that love is forever is on a different level. It is beyond the norm. The bottom line is that love will outlast every other gift. It is the yardstick by which everything else must be measured. Never is a very long time, and love will still be going when we reach that point on the timeline.

Paul addresses the over-emphasis the Corinthian Christians had on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They were caught up in the here and now. He shows that they should emphasize love more than the gifts, because the gifts are enablers of God’s work; love is the work itself. Love is what God has ultimately called us to do. Therefore, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are appropriate for the present time, but they are not permanent. They are imperfect gifts for an imperfect time. They enable us to do the work of the ministry so that when we do it together and well using the gifts God provides, we can demonstrate agape love to those in our patch.

The truth is that everything else is around for a season. God gives gifts to meet the need of the time. Love is the ultimate outcome to the ministry we are called to deliver. “As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” We have to contrast the fact that ‘love never ends’ with the gifts of the Spirit as they will all pass away or cease. They aren’t given for long periods of time. They are given to accomplish God’s intent. But love is the everlasting goal. That’s what God wants the result of our live to be. And like love, that pursuit should never end.

Along with being temporary, Paul makes clear that the gifts are also incomplete. They aren’t the answer to the ministry we are called to accomplish. They assist, but love is the real fuel. “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is not trying to say that prophecies, tongues, and knowledge have different fates. He is simply writing well, saying the same thing in three different ways. They will end, but love never fails. Gifts are given for a specific purpose and season. Love applies to all in all and through all. It is the universal outcome of all God desires to achieve.

%d bloggers like this: