And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV84)

I am sure that we all have heard sermons and read books and devotions on this popular verse.  So much has and could be said!  Paul, at the close of his thoughts on love, compares and contrasts love with faith and hope.  These three aspects (characteristics) of the Christian faith are central to our thinking.  Faith, hope, and love flow through our spiritual veins like blood flows through our physical body.  These three characteristics define us and make us Christian.  Faith is what holds us to the cross of Jesus Christ for the certainty of our salvation.  Hope provides us the certainty (not just wish) that there is more to life than that which we live every day.  Hope sees with eyes of faith a heavenly kingdom for which we are bound.  But it is love that empowers and establishes them both.  It is knowing that God loves me as He does that empowers my faith and my hope.

In our verse for today, Paul tells us that, out of these three characteristics, love is the greatest.  Of course it is!  You see, our faith and our hope rises and falls with the experiences of our love, but love itself is a constant.  God’s love does not rise and fall or waiver one bit.  God’s love for us is unconditional and unilateral.  He loves us no matter what.  There is nothing we can do today to cause God to love us any more than He does, and there is nothing we can do to cause Him to love us any less.  He is love.  He expressed that love in sending His own Son into the world to save us.   Jesus is the full expression of God’s love.  Paul says in Romans, “God demonstrated His great love for us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  God loves us so much that he is willing to pursue us even while we are running away from Him.

It is necessary to have faith.  It is good to have hope.  It is great to know the God who loves you in just the way you need to be loved and longs to receive your love in return.  Truly, the greatest of these is love!

Peace!

Pastor Tom

  1. June 7, 2012

    Thank you for writing this. Next to Jeremiah 29:11 and the Gospels, Paul’s message about Love and the passage in Romans 5 1:11 have been a favorite of mine for a long time. Unconditional Love is an amazing grace, that is almost hard to fathom that I am even worthy of.
    Thanks! Love, Susan

  2. July 7, 2012

    Higher than the mountains
    That I face
    Stronger than the power
    Of the grave
    Constant in the trial and the change
    One thing remains
    One thing remains

    Your love never fails
    It never gives up
    It never runs out on me
    Your love

    ?Because on and on and
    ?On and on it goes ?
    It overwhelms
    ?And satisfies my soul
    ?And I never, ever, ?
    Have to be afraid ?
    One thing remains ?
    One thing remains?

    ?In death, in life
    ?I’m confident and covered ?
    By the power of Your great love ?
    My debt is paid
    ?There’s nothing that can separate
    My heart from Your great love

    Your love never fails
    It never gives up
    It never runs out on me
    Your love

    Simply Truthful lyrics … here’s the song, One Thing Remains: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TItyYhfwClM

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