Sunday, March 5, 2017

Things That Abide

Lately I've been going over the Love Chapter again, 1 Corinthians 13, and something new jumped out at me the other day. The chapter is about Love, what it looks like to love, what it is to love and what it isn't. There is something tucked away, about halfway through, that I've been aware of for some time. Namely, this Love proclaimed in the chapter is Perfect Love. It says, "Love never ends. As for prophecies they will pass away, as for tongues they will cease, as for knowledge it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part but when the perfect comes the partial will pass away." [bold and emphasis added]

What is being said here is that this Love never ending means that it is perfect already. It has arrived in its perfected form. This is Jesus, entering into His own creation, living a perfect life and dying a perfect death in our stead. 1 John 4 says, "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as he is so also are we in this world."

All of that I knew previously about the Love Chapter. What I didn't see previously but see now is that there are three concepts outlined as having already achieved perfection, not just Love. It comes near the end of the chapter: If partial (non-perfect) things pass away (prophecies, knowledge, tongues, etc) but perfect things abide (IE, never end) so then faith and hope are perfect along with love. "So now  faith, hope, and love abide these three; but the greatest of these is love."

They are perfection injected into imperfection: the Creator bringing light into creation. Jesus brought all three and is all three. He is perfect faith, keeping perfect faith where all others are faithless and is the author and perfecter of our faith; gifting it to us. We, the faithless, called to faithfulness, poured out in abundance through our blessed Creator. He is sure and steadfast and no one can take us from His hand.

He is hope. The perfect hope that will never put anyone to shame. We have a hope that will outlast all else, that will outshine the sun and outlive the earth. We have a hope that will drag us as sure as an anchor-line into Heaven itself and bring us with joy to the judgement seat of God. Hope can get no better than that.

But the greatest of these three is Love. Love in chapter 13 is more than a concept, it is a being. Love embodied is Jesus, the light of the whole world. Jesus loves us, His sheep, and lay down His life for us. He gave imperfect eyes a vision of perfection and on fallen minds dawned a perfect light. May we always glory and wonder in that.

We have been gifted to abide in these three: grafted into perfection. Let us revel in that.


  1. Deep thoughts. You constantly surprise me.

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