And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
(1 Corinthians 13:13)
I Corinthians 13 is the famous chapter of the Bible defining and describing godly love.
This chapter is important because the love that God has for us and expects us to have for one another is a difficult concept for us to grasp. It is infinitely higher and better than human love. We can only experience this love through our relationship with God. We love Him because He first loved us. As we learn how He loves us, we are taught to love one another. Human love is based on relationship, commonality, conditions and mutual benefit. God’s love is based on choice, commitment and selflessness without conditions.
The idea of godly love is so foreign to human experience that when God inspired the Bible He gave us a new word to denote His love. The greek word agape’ used in the New Testament to define God’s love was not used before the inspiration of the Bible. It is fitting to have a special word to teach us of His Divine love.
The word agape’ is translated into the word “charity” in this chapter of the King James Bible. This is a perfect English word to describe God’s selfless & unconditional love. If we give money or property to a charitable organization, we understand that we are giving it for their benefit and expect nothing in return. Likewise, when we truly love someone the way God loves us, we give that love freely for their benefit without conditions or expectation of return. Every relationship of life will be transformed as we are filled with the knowledge and power of God’s eternal love.
I Corinthians 13 gives us an outline proving the superiority of God’s love.
The Greatest Speech
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)
The Greatest Gift
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2)
The Greatest Motivation
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:3)
The Greatest Character
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; (1 Corinthians 13:4-6)
The Greatest Strength
Beareth all things, (1 Corinthians 13:7)
The Greatest Faith
believeth all things, (1 Corinthians 13:7)
The Greatest Hope
hopeth all things, (1 Corinthians 13:7)
The Greatest Endurance
endureth all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7)
The Greatest Guarantee
Charity never faileth: (1 Corinthians 13:8)
God’s love is great! It is a language that all humans understand. That’s why Jesus tells us in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Agape’ love is a powerful evangelistic tool. It proves the sincerity of God’s people to the world. It is a stark contrast to the fickle human love that is prevalent in the world. Seeing true love in action wets the appetite of the lost to experience God’s love. God placed in the human heart the desire to be truly and wholly loved. We must teach people everywhere where to find fulfilling and satisfying love God desires to give them. It is found through faith in Christ and fellowship with sincere believers.
Have you considered how much God loves you today?
Will you ask God to teach you the breadth, depth and height of His love?
Will you be a conduit to bring God’s love to the world around you?
Right now, ask God to fill you with His love and empower you to convey that love to every relationship in your world.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Truly, God’s love is the greatest!