“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Love is the greatest because love is the foundation of all virtue and goodness. It lasts the longest because God is eternal and God is love.
There will not be spiritual gifts in eternity but love will be the dominate quality of our eternal existence. God’s love will flow toward us with infinite supply. Our love will flow to him in worship and adoration. AND our love will flow to one another without any of the hindrances we’ve seen to love in this chapter. Total patience. Absolute kindness. No envying. No boasting or arrogance. No one being rude or insisting it has to be done their way. No annoyance or resentment. There will be no wrong doing but celebration of every truth-doing. There will be nothing to bear with in each other, we will trust fully and this kind of love relationship will go on forever and ever and ever in absolute perfection. The best is yet to come.
This is why love is the greatest. It is the foundation of all other goodness and virtue that we cherish.
When Christians love each other like this, that love is heaven on earth. How wonderful to realize what love’s permanence means. All Christian love between Christians will endure forever. The love between Christian spouses lasts forever. The love between Christian friends lasts forever. The love between Christian siblings lasts forever. The love between Christians in a local church lasts forever. Love is the greatest because love lasts the longest. In Christ it never ends.
I remember hearing Pastor Erwin Lutzer speak right after an honor was given to the wife of a dear Christian pastor. They were elderly and he had just died. Pastor Lutzer got up and said… Ma’am, I want you to know, he still loves you. He still thinks of you. He remembers everything about your life together. And he can’t wait to see you again someday.
Powerful moment. What lasts on the other side of this life?
If I had died in the car accident last Sunday, what of my life would have lasted? Not my house. Not my clothes. Not my sermons. Not my money. Not my education. Not my books. Not my spiritual gifts. All of these are temporary and fleeting.
What would have lasted? I would last and my love would last. Love for God and every relationship of Christian agape I experienced in this life will last into eternity. It has to. Love never ends because God is love and God never ends. The best is yet to come.
350 years ago, the famous Pastor Richard Baxter said in his covenant vows to his wife April 10, 1660.
My knowledge of that life is small;
The eye of faith is dim:
But it’s enough that Christ knows all;
And I shall be with him.
These three remain, faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
© 2010 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s web site address (http://www.bethelweb.org/) on the copied resource.