"Eternal Love"

"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, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."   (1 Corinthians 13:12, 13) KJV

Have you ever wondered why love (charity in the King James) is called the "greatest of these"? Why is love greater than faith or hope? I believe the answer is that because, of the three, love alone is eternal.

What does the Bible say about faith, hope and love? In 2 Corinthians 5:7 we read, "Now we walk by faith, not by sight." We have faith in heaven, in God's promises, and in Jesus' return. We cannot see God, but we know, again, by faith, that he is with us always. We have faith for our salvation because of Christ's resurrection (1 Peter 1:3). Faith is also the means by which we receive the Holy Spirit.

Our hope is "an anchor of the soul" (Hebrews 6:19), but "we hope for that we see not." (Romans 8:25) Paul referred to the return of Jesus as "that blessed hope" in Titus 2:13.

One day we shall receive "the end of our faith" (1 Peter 1:9) and our "hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:7) will become reality. We will no longer need faith and hope when all is revealed to us and we have received "the reward of the inheritance." (Colossians 3:24)

Love, however, will go on forever -- we will live eternally in the presence of God who is Himself love (1 John 4:8), and we will be able to love perfectly and completely.

Until then, it is our privilege to be taught by the Lord how to love one another. "But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another." (1 Thessalonians 4:9) May our prayer for one another echo the apostle Paul's prayer for the saints of his time:

"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints." (1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13)

God's love is unconditional and infinite. We cannot fathom such love in our present state, but one day, when Jesus returns, "we shall be like him." (1 John 3:2)

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for Your great and endless love for us. Thank You for teaching us to love others. I am so thankful that love will last througout eternity with You. You are worthy of all our praise and honor and glory. Amen.

2002 Marie DisBrow

[This devotional article first appeared in the
July 15, 2002 issue of thischristianlife.com]