1Cor 13:13 (KJV) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.
In our final look at 1 Cor 13:13, we’ll be looking at the phrase “but the greatest of these [is] charity”. When comparing the graces of faith, hope, and love; the grace of love is the greatest of the three.
The question that is immediately brought to our mind is “Why is love considered the greatest of the three?” Although this question was obvious, the answer is not as clear, nor do we come to it quickly. After all, we are saved by faith, how could there be a greater grace? The second coming of our Lord is described as “the blessed hope” what greater grace keeps us motivated and consistent in our service to Christ? Why then is love described as the greatest of the three?
I believe the answer rests in the context of this verse. Keep in mind, we saw in the last devotion that, in comparison to the short lived gifts of prophecy, knowledge and tongues, the graces of faith, hope and love “abideth” (ie lasted for a longer period of time). The theme of this verse is comparing the length of existence of God’s gifts and graces. Keeping with this theme helps us to understand why love is greater than faith or hope. Love will exist long after faith and hope have gone out of existence.
Love is the only eternal grace of the three. Keep in mind, faith is defined in God’s Word as the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebs 11:). Faith will only be exercised this side of heaven. Once we enter our eternal home at His second coming, we will no longer exercise faith because all will then be seen and the substance of all we have hoped for will be received. Hope is the assurance of the fulfillment of God’s promises. Following the second coming, and our entrance into our eternal home, there will be no promises left to be fulfilled, hence, no need for hope.
But when it comes to love, we will exercise love throughout our eternal existence with Christ. We will be loving our Savior and loving our spiritual family members for an eternally. This is one of the greatest reasons why love is the greatest gift compared to knowledge, prophecy, tongues, hope and faith.
What a privilege it is to be able to exercise the eternal grace of love even while we are yet in our temporal existence here on earth. What a wonderful declaration of what eternity will be like when we exercise our love for Christ and others here on earth. As we begin our day, let us seek to sincerely display the wonderful eternal grace of God’s love that He has given to His people.
May the Lord bless us as we “Think On These Things”.
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