Paul Declares Love the One and Only Eternal Constant
1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. KJV
Paul declares for us the constancy of love. Everything we see with our physical eyes is fleeting and fades away with the passing of time. When we remember someone who has died, we don’t think of what a beautiful wardrobe of clothing they owned or the great big house they lived in or the nice car they drove, but instead it is our love for them that rests, reposes, and resides within us that continues on and on and on. Paul here declares to these Corinthian believers and to us that no matter how explosive or impressive a spiritual gift may be such as prophesy, or tongues, or any of the other gifts, they like the physical things of this world are going to fail. Paul uses this English word fail which is translated by the Greek word katargeo which means to be rendered entirely idle or useless; to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency or to deprive of force, influence, and power; to put an end to, to do away with, or to abolish. Paul uses this word twice in this one verse 8 to denote the finality coming with every spiritual gift given to the redeemed by God the Holy Spirit. This is the same word Paul used when writing to the believers in Rome testifying to them of the Power in our Lord Jesus Christ’s Death and Resurrection from the dead that has been applied to every one of us at the moment we were born again and how it should do away with or abolish or render useless or idle our sin nature, this is what Paul wrote, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin (might be destroyed)=katargeo, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6).
Just as Paul wrote in his Roman epistle or letter declaring our sin destroyed or done away with “in Christ”, likewise he is declaring here that all the sign gifts are going to stop immediately upon our Lord Jesus’ return to the earth to take up His Church or at the moment every true believer “in Him” dies and then goes to be with Him immediately after the death of the body, as Peter declares in 1 Peter 1:24. There will be no need to tell the future in heaven for there will be no past, present, or future but just eternity or forever and likewise our language will no longer be human, but it will be only one language a heavenly language (we won’t even need an interpreter) that we all will speak continually as we are eternally glorifying our Lord Jesus Christ. The only thing that we receive from our Lord Jesus Christ that will remain forever and never fail is love and the English word fail Paul uses this time to announce the constancy of God’s Love is translated by the Greek word ekpipto which means to drop away or to become inefficient or to fall off or to be lost or to be made of no effect or to be made powerless. Love will survive everything and love will endure everything and love will be the one thing that operates in the New Jerusalem and this is why Paul wrote these very serious words at the close of this first epistle to these Corinthian believers and to us that we will be coming to soon, he said, “If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed (Maranatha)” (1 Corinthians 16:22).
1 Corinthians 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. KJV
Paul declares that our understanding now as we sojourn and pilgrimage our way through this earth as aliens is only in part. This English word part Paul uses here is translated by the Greek word meros which means in a measure or to some degree. We are only wading in the shallow end of a vast and unending ocean of the knowledge and understanding of Almighty God and we will spend all eternity plumbing or measuring the depths of His Person in heaven and we will never reach the end or the bottom of all that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are in His Person. We preach or teach from His Eternal Word only a minute fraction of all the riches of secret wisdom, blessing, knowledge, wonder, and splendor that is contained in it and discovering this truth or reality led the Apostle Paul to write these words expressing that very fact, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:33-36).
1 Corinthians 13:10-13 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. KJV
All down here on the earth breeds imperfection, but when we are raptured up by our Lord Jesus Christ to forever be with Him or when we die and go to be with Him all that remains imperfect within us (even our ability to love) will be instantly changed by Him and we will be then made perfect just like Him. Paul continues his comparison of our complete inability to take in or grasp fully all the complexities and dynamics and depths of our Heavenly Father. Paul in so doing compares what his understanding is like here on the earth (childish) as compared to what it is going to be when he sees our Lord Jesus Christ face to face in heaven (adult) and Paul knowing how mere childish his knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ was cried out in his letter to the Philippian believers with these words, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). Paul understood the obscurity and blurred spiritual vision with which he saw our Lord Jesus Christ (this from a man who was seemingly always in our Lord’s Presence) and wanted to convey this truth to the Corinthian believers and to us today.
Paul knew that it did not matter what others thought of him or even what he thought of himself or his faithfulness or obedience to our Lord, for he knew that our Lord Jesus saw him in complete truth (as know human being could ever see him) and this is why he wrote earlier in this same letter these words, “But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God” (1 Corinthians 4:3-5). At the end of all time or human history and at the moment every true born again believer in our Lord Jesus Christ dies there will be no more need to trust in Him whom we love but do not see (1 Peter 1:8) or hope confidently in Him but our love to Him and for Him is the greatest of all because it will continue on and on in His Presence forever as we are now perfect in every aspect as He is perfect, even our love. The Apostle John declares this so beautifully to us and for us by these words he wrote, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:1-2).
“There is no room to believe and hope, when we see and enjoy. But love fastens on the divine perfections themselves, and the divine image on the creatures, and our mutual relation both to God and them. These will all shine forth in the most glorious splendours in another world, and there will love be made perfect; there we shall perfectly love God, because he will appear amiable forever, and our hearts will kindle at the sight, and glow with perpetual devotion. And there shall we perfectly love one another, when all the saints meet there, when none but saints are there, and saints made perfect. O blessed state!” Matthew Henry
“Love for our Lord Jesus Christ is not only warm feelings coming from mere emotions, but it is instead a deep rooted inward reality that makes us yearn and long to be like Him in every capacity, though we see how far from that reality we are while still on the earth. Love is why we obey Him and love is the only thing we have of any value to give Him that He Jealously desires (John 21:15-17) as James writes, ‘Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain,’ ‘The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously?’ (James 4:5).” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…