A couple of weeks ago in my daily devotions I was directed to and read First Corinthians 13. I am sure most of you recognize that at “the love chapter.” There is a lot of verses and information on the subject love in that chapter. As I read the verses, I was drawn to two verses at the end of the chapter. First Corinthians 13:12 and 13 say; “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
The world has a strange view of love. Read any book about love or watch a movie and you will find some strange, and wrong, ideas about love. The earlier verses in First Corinthians 13 offers a host of things that love is and is not: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
As we approach a day that focuses on love, I want to make a couple of observations about those verses at the end of this chapter. I have always loved the promise in verse 12. As we look at our circumstances today, we are sometimes clouded by what is going on. When Paul was writing this letter, mirrors were not quite what they are today. More often than not, they were a polished metal and did not really give a true reflection. Isn’t it an amazing thought that one day we stand face to face with our Lord and Savior and everything will become crystal clear. There will be no more questions. We will know and understand fully God’s amazing plan for our life!
However, as long as we are on this earth, we will only know God’s plan and will for our life in part. We often talk about faith and hope. As Christians, they are both major parts of our life. However, until we understand God’s immense love for us, faith and hope will never be what they should be in our life. We cannot live in faith and hope until we dwell completely in God’s love. Can you imagine what it will be like when we get to Heaven? Renown Bible teacher Matthew Henry had this to say about that day; “Once in Heaven, love will be made perfect; there we will perfectly love God and there we will perfectly love one another.” Our faith on that day will be seen, our hope will be realized but love, love will remain forever.
I was intrigued about that line that says we will perfectly love one another. Take a moment and visualize what that might look like. No more trying to impress someone to get them to love you and no more earning someone love. The Bible has a lot to say about loving one another. A couple of examples are First Corinthians 16:14 where it says; “Let all that you do be done with love.” First John 4:11 adds; “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” The Bible is clear that we are to love one another. In fact, in Matthew 22:27-29 the Lord clearly states; “Jesus said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Loving others when things are easy is not the true test of love. No! Unconditional love is demonstrated in the face of sin. The question about love is not “do you love me?” but “do you love me in spite of what I have done?” God’s answer to that question is clear in Romans 5:8. The Bible says; “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Yes, God died for us while we were still in a sinful and unsaved state. He is our example. He is our guide. So, when some asks you, “do you love me in spite of what I have done?’ how do you personally answer that question?