'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
Continuing from last time with 1 Corinthians 13:8, Paul makes one of the most profound, all encompassing, even shocking declarations in the Bible:
“Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].” (v. 8)
Beginning in this verse, he is systematically leading to an inescapable conclusion. Interestingly, we are led to this truth by way of this same knowledge that will some day pass away. Knowledge has its time and place. Languages have their time and place. Even inspired preaching and fulfillment of prophecy will be some day become obsolete and useless. Paul understood completely that everything he was doing or saying is only the means to the end. The Love of God never fails. But, other “loves” fail and fail often. The wonderful love of a mother for her child, wonderful as it is, has many times failed. Friendship love is a wonderful thing, when it is genuine and functioning according to God’s standards. But, it very often fails and vacillates. All other loves do and will always fail in some way. It too, will come to an end.
The word “love” is understood in different ways in different cultures, especially in the Greek and Hebrew, and to compartmentalized to accommodate different emotions prevalent in various cultures and beliefs. Some of these definitions help in human communication and functions of societies. But the amazing thing about the Love of God, real sacrificial Love, is that it will replace all other “love” with the sacrificial Love of God. The Love of God finally will encompass and make all other definitions obsolete. There often has been a love between soldiers in battle when they demonstrate a kind of sacrificial love by giving their life for a comrade in arms. The Apostle Paul recognized this (Romans 5:7). This love can only be temporary, as good as it is. But the Love of God is permanent, constant, and eternal.
In vs. 9-10, we see a truth that is good for all of those of us who teach or preach, or are in a position of spiritual influence or leadership. All our knowledge is fragmentary. No one knows it all. No group know it all. Consequently, our knowledge is imperfect. It too, must pass away and be replaced by perfection. Hopefully, these words from an Apostle of Christ will serve to help all of us to humbly accept the truth that although all our activities have spiritual consequences, for ourselves and others, it too will pass away. It will, because it has served its purpose for which God gave it, and because all of it is imperfect, it will become obsolete and useless, and be swallowed up in perfection. But the Love of God, the power by which those works have been done, does not pass away.
“For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect). But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded).” - vs. 9-10
In reality, all that we do now will seem childish when we are made perfect. We will have put all these childlike things of the flesh aside. They are feeble, as all children are growing up. We are being brought up, we are being matured unto spiritual adulthood. Therefore, compared to what we will be when we are fully grown spiritually, the process will seem childish. It is childish for an eternal purpose. And the result is living forever in a glorious grown up body. We then will have put away “childish things”.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.” - v 11
At this time, many things seem blurred and us. Sometimes, we are plagued with uncertainties, whether it be questions about doctrine, questions about various scriptures and its interpretation, and their application. Life often seems like a complicated riddle that seems illogical, and we are troubled by the mystery of the whys of life. The world and all that is in it, and all that occurs seems a spider web of confusion and contradictions. It all seems blurred. Whatever happened to predictability and certainty? Again, when that wonderful “someday” arrives, all will become stunningly clear. We will understand everything just like our heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have understood us all along. “We will understand it all, by and by”.
“For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].” - v 1
There seems to be a sublime undercurrent running the entire book of 1Corinthians. The Apostle Paul seems to be concerned mostly with the condition of their Love relationship to God and each other. The collection for the saints in Jerusalem is an act of manifested Love. Among his last few words to the Corinthians are commands to Love:
"Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God's love for us)...If anyone does not love the Lord [does not have a friendly affection for Him and is not kindly disposed toward Him], he shall be accursed! Our Lord will come! (Maranatha!)." - 1 Corinthians 16:14,22
In writing to Timothy, Paul sums up the whole Gospel message in one statement:
"Whereas the object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love, which springs from a pure heart and a good (clear) conscience and sincere (unfeigned) faith." - 1 Timothy 1:5
After all that which occupies our time, effort, energy, efforts, labors, frustrations, successes, failures; when the battle is over, for all of us, there must be is one thing, and one only still standing…
“And so faith, hope, love abide [faith--conviction and belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things; hope--joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love--true affection for God and man, growing out of God's love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love. Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments (gifts), especially that you may prophesy (interpret the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching)” - 1 Corinthians 13:13; 14:1
"Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life" from
Dates are ImportantRead Article »
Receive the newest devotional each week in your inbox by joining the "'Christ in You...'" subscription list. Enter your email address below, click "Go!" and we will send you a confirmation email. Follow the instructions in the email to confirm your addition to this list.