Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
One of you asked: Why does Paul say that Christian love is the greatest? Here’s my partial answer:
1. Christ-like love is greatest because it gives evidence of our salvation. 1 John 4:7-12 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.
2. Christ-like love is greatest because it follows Jesus’ example. John 13:14-17 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. Ephesians 5:2 Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3. Christ-like love is greatest because it unites the Lord’s people, not divide them. Colossians 3:12-14 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
4. Christ-like love is greatest because it covers a multitude of sins. James 5:20 Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Proverbs 19:11 A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
5. Christ-like love is greatest because it fulfills God’s law. Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Galatians 5:14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
6. Christ-like love is greatest because it points the world to Christ. John 13:34-35 Jesus said: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
I answered this question a different way in the February Ministry update. You can read it here.
Go in peace (shalom=harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, well-being, and tranquility), beloved. Enjoy peace with God through Jesus today and be peace-makers who bless others in Jesus’ name!