Love never fails …
The Apostle Paul encourages the church to pursue faith, hope, and love, but love is the greatest. Why would love be the greatest? Faith seems to be pretty important; after all, we cannot achieve salvation without it, and without hope, we would be flat-out miserable. Why then would Paul tell us that love is the greatest?
Let’s look at three reasons.
- Love is a characteristic that God has.
Love existed in the godhead before faith or love ever came into the picture, and it is an integral part of God’s nature.
“The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” I John 4:8
Faith and hope are things that God has provided for man to save and sustain him. Love is a characteristic of God’s very being, within the trinity, that has been and will be in existence in the godhead. It is more significant because, like God, it is eternal.
- Love has Power.
What moved Jesus to die for sinners?
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
This type of love is agape, different from phileos (friendship) or eros (romantic love). Only something powerful can move someone to sacrifice themselves for someone that doesn’t deserve it or can give you nothing in return. Love is more significant than faith and hope because it has the power to create, regenerate, and sustain the receiver and the giver. We are saved by faith and encouraged by hope, but salvation would not have been possible if God had not loved us first. I
- Love leads others to Jesus.
“By this, all men will know that you are my disciples if you have love (agape) for one another.” John 13:35
Unbelievers are drawn to God by the love they see Christians expressing in their communities. When the world sees us helping each other in times of crisis or supporting each other in hardship and sacrifice – they are drawn to that sacrificial love that they see.
The fallen world that we live in sees love as feelings of intimacy and trust, sexual passion, or family love. The Bible does not judge these feelings; they are natural feelings for humans to have. But what the Bible defines as love goes far beyond these human feelings.
The Apostle Paul argues for the superiority of love over faith and hope.
“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13
God’s love never fails.
“Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” I Corinthians 13:8
Faith will one day be unnecessary; it will turn into sight. Hope will be realized and then unneeded. Love, on the other hand, will sustain throughout eternity.