1st Corinthians – Wayne Barber/Part 93
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1998|
|We’ve been talking about the absolute proof of a surrendered life. Of course, that proof is the love that God produces in us. But I’m going to change gears just a little bit and entitle the message, “Love that Never Fails.” We find that phrase in verse 8.|
1 Corinthians 13:8-12
- 1 Love That Never Fails
- 1.1 Because God’s love does not fail, there will come a time when there will be no need for preaching
- 1.2 Because God’s love does not fail, there will come a time when there will be no more ignorance
- 1.3 Because God’s love does not fail, there will come a time when there will be no need for different languages
- 1.4 Because God’s love does not fail, there will come a time when we will all be glorified
Love That Never Fails
We’ve been talking about the absolute proof of a surrendered life. Of course, that proof is the love that God produces in us. But I’m going to change gears just a little bit and entitle the message, “Love that Never Fails.” We find that phrase in verse 8.
You know, just a simple glance at verse 8 tells us that there are three things, three gifts or manifestations that the church of Corinth was struggling with. These were the gifts that were enamoring them. These were the gifts that were somehow luring them. It says it in verse 8, “Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.” There’s no coincidence here these three gifts are mentioned. You have to understand this is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God working in Paul to write this letter. He doesn’t just throw words out. He’s not at a loss for words. The words “prophecy,” “tongues,” and “knowledge” describe the three gifts or manifestations that the Corinthians had literally attached themselves to. And, as a result of it, this had led them into grave error in their day.
Paul, finishing out chapter 12, says, “I’ve got a better way for you. I want to show you a better way.” What he wants to show them is that instead of pursuing gifts, sensual, emotional experiences, pursue Christ. Attach yourself to Christ. Don’t attach yourself to gifts. When you can attach yourself to Christ, He produces—and this is an awesome thought, folks—His love in us. Not a love, but His very love, the love that is used in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world.” That love is produced, then, in the life of a believer by the Holy Spirit of God. This love cannot be duplicated. It cannot be manipulated in any way, manufactured in any way by man. It has to be produced for the Holy Spirit of God and is only produced when we’re surrendered to Him. It’s amazing the kingdom of love that God sets up in His church on this earth. It ought to say something to the world as to what they do not have and give us a witness to share Christ.
A friend of mind e-mailed me this quote from Napoleon, of all people, a great military man centuries ago. Here’s what it said. “I know men. I tell you that Jesus was not just a mere man…. The religion of Christ is a mystery which subsists by its own force and proceeds from a mind which is not a human mind. We find in it a marked individuality which originated a train of words and actions unknown before. Jesus is not a philosopher for His proofs are miracles and from the first His disciples adored Him. Alexander, Caesar, and myself founded empires, but on what foundation did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Yet Jesus Christ founded an empire upon love, an empire and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.”
Then, as he lamented, Napoleon said, “I die before my time and my body will be given back to the earth to become food for worms. Such is the fate of him who has been called the Great Napoleon. What an abyss between my deep misery and the eternal kingdom of Christ which has proclaimed, loved, and adored, and is extending over the whole earth.” Then he turned to his general, General Bertrand, and added, “If you do not perceive that Jesus Christ was God, I did wrong in appointing you a general.”
That’s Napoleon. Absolutely overwhelmed at the kingdom of God on this earth, the kingdom of love founded, not on force, but founded on love. It’s that love produced by God’s Spirit that gives that kind of witness to a lost world. And the apostle Paul is trying to tell the church of Corinth this.
He said back in chapter 1, “The testimony of God has been confirmed in you but it never has been confirmed through you.” In other words, you’re in Corinth, but Corinth has gotten into you. Instead of you attaching yourself to Christ, letting His love literally attract many in Corinth, you’ve attached yourself to gifts and you’ve done nothing more than turn the whole gospel upside down.
Now Paul, in the light of the culture in Corinth, begins to describe this love that God produces in our heart. First of all, in verse 4 he says that this love is patient and kind. That’s important if you understand that culture of Corinth. Again, he’s not throwing words around. There could have been others thing he said. But in Corinth they needed to hear this. The word “patient” is long-suffering. God’s love is long-suffering. That ought to give a glimmer of hope right there to the Corinthian believers. Even though they’re upside down, even though they completely missed it, God’s love is persevering. It’s long-suffering. Not only for us to others as God produces it in our life, but also from God to us. God’s love is patient.
But also God’s love is kind. The word “kind” means useful. Instead of chasing after gifts and only edifying you, he says that God’s love in you would cause you to pursue how you can edify others, not just yourself.
Then he proceeds to show what life without this love would be like. He uses eight negatives as he follows, beginning in the last part of verse 4. First of all, he says that love is not jealous. Love is not going to try to steal away the joy that you’re having. It does not brag. It is not arrogant. It doesn’t say, “My gift is better than your gifts.” That’s what was going on in Corinth. In verse 5 we see love “does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own.” It’s not selfish. In other words, since it doesn’t seek its own, it’s not provoked. When I’m easily provoked by someone it’s obvious I’m seeking my own. I’m self-centered at that point. It does not take into account a wrong suffered. It doesn’t keep a ledger of things that people do wrong against you so that you can use it later on.
In verse 6 it says, “[It] does to rejoice in unrighteousness.” It doesn’t take something that is wrong and try to make it appear as if it’s right. As a matter of fact, if you took all these negatives and said this is the world I live in, then life is nothing more than a cold, self-centered place that you exist in day by day. But, see, when God’s love is there it’s quite different. He shows you that as he brings out five positives of what love is. I’m going to tell you what. This is when it’s almost like the current starts speeding up right here as he leads to his further thoughts. He says in the last part of verse 6, “but rejoices with the truth.” I want you to know that’s the truth. The definite article is used there. Certainly he enjoys with honesty, etc., but that’s not what he’s saying. It rejoices with the Word of God. Righteousness comes from the Word of God as we act on it by faith. That’s why you can’t rejoice in unrighteousness. Those two phrases are linked together there in verse 6. It rejoices with the truth.
The Word of God does matter. Truth does matter. That’s why Paul’s writing this letter to the Corinthians; because doctrinally they are totally upside down. He loves them so he’s trying to correct them. When you love somebody, you want them to be doctrinally correct.
Then in verse 7 it bears all things. The word for “bears” all things means it covers it. It doesn’t seek to expose the wrongs of everybody. It builds a covering over it. That’s love. It believes all things. It hopes all things. It endures all things. Now, basically it’s saying love never gives up.
Paul says it in another way in verse 8. As he starts off he says, “(God’s) love never fails.” The word “fails” we looked at last time is the word pipto. There are two definitions. Each one of them helps us. I think the second one that I did not give to you last time is much more appropriate to the context. The first one means to fall, to stumble, but it’s used in secular Greek of a leaf that blows off the tree. It floats down and then it withers and then it decays. God’s love never decays, withers, or falls off. It’s always there in the life of a believer. It’s there It never fails. But the better definition, and I think what he’s saying here as I’ve studied the whole context here, is the definition used of a ship when it gets off course and as a result of it, ends up in shipwreck.
Stay with that definition of love never fails. Love never gets off course to where it can’t get back on course. It’s going to get you to the destination that it set you out on. It’s going to arrive. Love never fails. I’ll tell you what, this ought to begin to already encourage your heart. He’s saying this to the Corinthian believers. Even though you’re upside down, even though you’re immature babies, even though you don’t have a clue about half of what I’m telling you, God’s love is going to get you to where He told you you were going to arrive, because God’s love never fails. If you want to enjoy the journey, then attach yourself to the One who produces that love. You want to be miserable on the way, don’t attach yourself but you will arrive. God’s love never fails.
Because God’s love does not fail, there will come a time when there will be no need for preaching
With that thought in mind, let’s ease in and see what God has for us. Man, these are some powerful verses. First of all, because God’s love does not fail, there will come a time when there will be no more need of preaching. He said, “but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away.” The first thing you’ve got to do is to realize is “there be gifts of” is in italics. That means a translator has added those words to the original text. It’s not in the original text. That’s just a translator’s way of bringing it out, to perhaps make it more sense. It seems to be implicit but it’s not there in the original text. The literal would be, “But if prophecies, they will be done away.”
The word for “prophecy” is the word propheteia. We have seen in our study propheteia means to speak before someone. That can mean two things. It can mean to foretell the future, to tell beforehand, or it can mean to tell forth the Word of God. We’ve already seen in our study that the foretelling the future is already beginning to phase out even as Paul wrote this. You only find that as a pattern with the apostles, prophets, and evangelists of that day, not the evangelists we have today. Don’t get upset. The evangelists they had, the 70 that were sent out, they had these gifts. You find the pattern there. So if you bring it on up to date to where Paul would be when you think of prophecy, you’ve sort of got to put that out of your mind and come to the telling forth, the preaching of the Word of God.
You see, Paul is saying there’s going to come a day when sermons will no longer be needed. Why? All preaching—in fact, if you want to go behind preaching and go to the foretelling and the prophecies of the prophets of the Old Testament—is at best incomplete. Even the author of Hebrews says that the prophets of the Old Testament prophesied in part and in portion. They didn’t have the whole picture. Neither is either message complete in itself. There’s always something left out. There’s always things that could have been said. There’s only a piece or a portion. They only had a piece of the huge pie. So there’s going to come a day that there’s no need for that any more.
In verse 10 he tells us when that day is. He says, “but when the perfect comes.” We’ll get to that. Something in the future is going to happen. We’ll explain to you what we believe that to be. There will be no more need for prophecies. There will be no more need for sermons or preaching because it will all be absorbed in that which is perfect that is coming.
The phrase “will be done away with” is the word katargeo. It’s the word kata, down, and then from the word argos, which means to idle; to idle down. Actually here it means to set aside, to make it idle to where it no longer is needed.
Look at verse 11. He uses the same phrase, “when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” He uses the same word. In other words, he didn’t do away with them. If he did away with them, then what man could do another childish thing? But he set them aside as a pattern in his life. He set them aside. They are no longer needed.
Now, the verb that is used here, pay attention, is future passive. You say, “Why do you get into stuff like this? I don’t care what the verb is.” You better care because it sheds light on what he’s talking about. In the future the perfect is coming. In the future passive voice, God, not man, will take all the sermons and all the prophecies and set them aside. When the perfect comes, all preaching and prophecies will be set aside. Remember, that word “prophecies” is in the plural. It’s not prophecy, singular. So he’s talking all the different messages from all the time and particularly the preaching of today. All of that will be absorbed and set aside when the perfect comes. So because God’s love does not fail, it gets us to the destination God says to where we headed. There’s going to come a day when the perfect comes that all preaching will be set aside.
Because God’s love does not fail, there will come a time when there will be no more ignorance
Secondly, because God’s love does not fail, there’s going to come a time when there is no more ignorance. I’m going to skip the little phrase he has about tongues ceasing. I’ll come back to it. He says in verse 8, “but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues they will cease, if there is knowledge, it will be done away.” The reason I’m doing knowledge second instead of third is because the verb that is used with prophecies and the verb that is used with knowledge are exactly the same. It changes with the tongues. That’s what I want you to see. So Paul says that there’s going to come a day that knowledge will be set aside. “What do you mean? Is there going to become a day I can’t learn any more? Is there going to come a day I won’t know anything or there will be no knowledge?” No, that’s not what he’s saying. In fact, knowledge has got to be looked at in the same sense that prophecies were looked at. Even though it’s in the singular, it has more of a plural understanding.
Actually, scholars have debated. This should be the plural because that exegetically and dramatically fits the text. Singular, as it is in some text, is not right. Plural should be there but if you’re going to leave it singular, you’ve got to look at it in the plural sense. What do I mean by that? You see, any knowledge I have or you have is just a part of a bigger piece. In other words, it’s fragmented at best. Mankind thinks that they are so smart, but all we have are little bits of knowledge. We see through a glass dimly, as he says later on. We don’t have it all together right now. This is why it’s so important never to attach yourself to a preacher. No preacher has it all together. Attach yourself to the Giver. He’s the one who has it all together and He is the treasure house of wisdom and knowledge as Colossians tells us.
So all these bits and pieces of knowledge that we have, fragmented as it is, will one day be absorbed into that which is perfect. When it comes, it will be set aside. It won’t be needed because you’ll be overwhelmed at what you’ll know.
Look at 1 John 3:2. I want you to see something. When that which is perfect comes, when we see Christ one day, there’s going to be something that’s going to take place in our life. It’s called the glorification of the body. I want you to see this. In 1 John 3:2 the apostle John is telling us what it’s going to be like when we see Jesus face to face, the One who is the summation of all knowledge. What we have is only fragmented. We have bits and pieces. First John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be [what does it say?] like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.” All those tidbits of knowledge that we thought we had [and aren’t we proud of it?] will one day just be set aside. When we see Him, we shall know as we’re known.
Look back in 1 Corinthians 13:12. I want to show you something. All of this is tied together. You’ve got to tie these knots. If you don’t, you’ll get real frustrated with what these verses mean. Verse 12 of chapter 13 reads, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then, face to face [look at this]; now as I look in a mirror, I know in part, but then [when I see Him face to face] I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.”
Can you imagine what it’s going to be like one day to know as we’ve been known? All those bits of knowledge that we thought we had all of a sudden they mesh together and we know. When that which is perfect is come, all preaching, all fragmentary bits of knowledge, will be set aside because then, you see, we will know as we’re known. Down here we think we’re so smart. We really do.
We are so smart down here. Man, we clean up the air in a city and pollute the river. We don’t know what we’re doing. Oh, aren’t we intelligent? I’ll tell you. He’s not speaking about secular intelligence. He’s talking in a spiritual way. We think we know so much about God, but when that which is perfect is come, He’s going to take all the preaching and set it aside. He’s going to take all the knowledge and set it aside because you’re going to know as you’re known. And on that day you’ll realize how much there really was to the picture. Well, because God’s love never fails, that day is coming. God is going to get us to where He says He’s going to get us. God’s love never lets the ship get off course too far that He doesn’t get it back on course and make it come to its arrived destination.
Because God’s love does not fail, there will come a time when there will be no need for different languages
Then thirdly, because God’s love does not fail, one day there will be no more need for different languages. Let’s go back to that tongues verse. Right in the middle of verse 8 he says, “if there are tongues, they will cease.” I hope you understand by now, as we’ve studied chapter 12, when “tongues” is rendered in the plural, it refers to known understandable languages. Get off this kick that’s some ecstatic prayer language that somebody has. That is not right. He deals with what they’re doing in chapter 14. Every time he refers to them he uses “tongue,” singular. Every time he refers to himself, he uses “tongues” plural, languages, known understandable languages. There’s going to come a time that there will be no more language barriers. All the languages are going to cease. Why? Because we’re going to speak one language. In that day, when the perfect is come and all sermons are put aside, all knowledge is set aside, all languages will cease because there’s not going to be a need for them. They can all hear and speak in the same language.
Do you realize the only reason we speak in different languages is because of what happened in Genesis 11? Man was so arrogant, and God looked down at him and said, “Hey, this is not going to work.” He confused them with different languages? That’s where your nations have their root, right there in the pagan area of Babel. But do you also realize that at Pentecost there was a reversal of Babel? They spoke in different languages but they all heard in their own language and God was giving them a prophecy. Only for that moment did that happen, but he’s saying, “Listen there’s coming a day when you’re not going to need languages because you’re only going to speak one language and you’ll all hear in one language. When that which is perfect is come there will be no more need for languages. There will be no more barriers there for languages. They will cease. I don’t know what the language is going to be, but it’s going to be one language.
Now, the Greek verb used there for “they will cease” is important. It’s the word pausontai. That’s a different verb than the verb we looked at earlier, katargeo. It’s a different verb altogether. It means to stop, put the brakes on. Now, it’s in the future, just like the others are, but it changes. It’s in the future middle. There’s a big difference. Future passive means God’s going to do it. He’ll take this stuff and set it aside. He’ll take the knowledge and set it aside and it will be absorbed in that perfect when He comes. But this one means it will cease on its own. He’s not talking about ecstatic tongues.
You say, “You act awfully sure of yourself. How did you arrive at that conclusion?” I’d better defend myself. Obviously I’m convinced. First of all, if he’s talking about an ecstatic tongue, like I said, he would have put it in the singular, because he follows a pattern all the way through. He doesn’t break that pattern. Any time he speaks of what God does, which are the languages, it is in the plural. So I know he’s talking about languages. Secondly, some people say in the phrase in 1 Corinthians 13:1 “tongues of men and of angels.,” angels means a heavenly language that I have in my prayer time. You can’t take that away from me. Wait a minute. If that’s going to cease, which he says it will, it doesn’t make any sense if it’s a heavenly language. When that which is perfect is come and we’re in heaven, what are we going to do? Sign to each other? The language is not going to disappear. You walk down through the process of just simple logic and you have to arrive at the fact that he’s talking about languages, not some mystical whatever everybody wants to call it. He’s talking about languages. There will be no language barriers when that which is perfect has come.
There’s coming a day when all prophecies will be satisfied. There won’t be any need for preaching; there won’t be any need for all these bits and fragments of knowledge, not as if you do away with it. But it’s all absorbed into that which is perfect. There’s coming a day when there won’t be any need for languages. We’ll all speak the same language. How do we know that? Because love does not fail. God has told us where we headed. God has told us. It’s the hope of every believer and when we see Him, we shall be like Him and the perfect has come.
We haven’t told you what the perfect is yet. We’ll get there in a minute. When the perfect comes, we know that we’re going to arrive, because love never fails. I’ll tell you what. I’ve always read this as if it’s up to me to love my brother, but I’m beginning to realize it’s not up to me. It’s up to Him. The whole promise does not start with me loving my brother, but me receiving the love my God has for me. If I’ll just receive it, then I can enjoy the journey because I’m going to get there. But if I won’t receive it, it’s going to be one painful direction for me and Corinthians had already bought into that painful direction.
Because God’s love does not fail, there will come a time when we will all be glorified
Fourthly, because God’s love never fails one day we will be glorified. We will be made perfect. John said we shall be like Him. We will not be God. We will not be omniscient. We won’t be omnipresent or omnipotent, but we will be perfect in His eyes, in His sense. We will be glorified. It will be something that we have never really known. We won’t be God, but we’ll be like Him. Verse 9 is so connected with verses 8 and 10. It’s amazing, isn’t it? After he says what he says, look here. Verse 9 reads, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part;…”
The term “in part” needs to be understood. It’s the word ek, out of, and meros. It means to be a part or a piece of a bigger something. For instance, if I took the top of a piano and ripped it off, wouldn’t that be fun? I would hold it up. That’s a part of the piano. You really wouldn’t know what the piano looked like just by the top. But one day, when the piano got here, and I put it where it belongs, it’s sort of absorbed into the whole. You don’t see it any more. You see the whole. That’s what he’s talking about. It’s a part. We prophesy in part. Even the author of Hebrews said it. Everything we do is in part. It’s fragmented. Our knowledge is fragmented, and yet it’s directed and it’s increasing. But one day when we see the embodiment of knowledge, it will all be absorbed into that.
He’s saying that prophecy and knowledge, they’re just a part. We prophesy in part. We know in part. In verse 10 he says, however, “but when the perfect comes.” Look at this. He contrasts “part” with “that which is perfect.” You’ve got to see that. There’s a contrast there in verse 10. He’s leading you right to his thought.
In verse 12 we have the same thought. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.” Something is coming in the future. When the perfect comes it will swallow up the parts. They’ll be set aside and will be no longer necessary. There won’t even be a language barrier. We’ll all be hearing and speaking the same thing.
When the perfect comes. Here’s where we have to enter some of the controversial waters. What does he mean by “the perfect?” Well, the word is to teleion. I did it that way because “to” is a definite article. When a definite article is used with that word it means that which is the perfect state of something. It’s not just an area of your life. It’s not just maturity. This is absolute maturity. This is the absolute perfect state of maturity.
Then verse 12 links us to what that has to mean. We say it’s Christ coming. It could be, but I’m thinking more this: he says then we’re going to see face to face, and what’s going to happen? John says we will be like Him. To me it’s the full maturity of the believer which God has already programmed into the computer. Romans 8 says He already sees that glorification. It’s already done and His love never fails to get you from here all the way to there. We’re going to make it. We are going to make it.
Corinthians are you listening? Do you want to be painful in the journey or do you want to enjoy it? Do you want to attach yourself to a gift? You’re missing out because you don’t know the love. Not only are you not experiencing it for yourself, you’re not experiencing and giving it to others. You’re miserable. You’re going to make it though because His love will get you there. But you can enjoy it a whole lot more.
I don’t how this term “when that which is perfect is come” could mean anything else but the glorification of the believer when one day we won’t need to worry about sermons or knowledge. We’ll know as we’re known and when we speak, we’ll speak in the language all can understand. It will all be the same language. There is perfection for the believer that is coming one day when we see Christ.
There are some other views of this. Some people say it’s the Word of God, when the Word of God comes. Wait a minute. When the Word of God comes, all the preaching is going to stop? All knowledge is going to stop? And we’re all going to speak in the same language? It just doesn’t make much sense to me.
Then people say it’s Christ, when He comes. He’s the perfect one. That to me is close, because when He comes and we see Him, we’ll be made like Him. Some say that this is the maturing process of the Corinthians. When they finally get to maturity, they can put aside all of this garbage they’ve been doing and get about the things God wants them to do. They can grow up and be adults in the family of God. Personally I agree with that thought, but not in this verse. It comes up in just a minute. To me, he gives the ultimate maturity first and then as an illustration goes back to their immediate need for maturing in the faith. Once again I think that’s what he’s pointing to.
Some people would ask, does this happen at the moment that you die—when you see Jesus, you’re going to be like Him? Well, in one sense it does, because we do have a temporary covering for a spirit. The spirit is never left unclothed. Second Corinthians 5 teaches us that. But we don’t have that body yet that’s going to be our eternal covering. So I don’t know how this works. I can’t go any further than I can go. I do know that in 1 Corinthians 15 he gets into this big-time and heavy. We’re talking about just a few verses over. So it’s got to be on his mind. This is the glorification, I believe, of the believer that is one day going to come and God’s love will not fail in getting us to that place.
Verse 10 says, “but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.” “Be done away” is the very term we’ve seen earlier, katargeo, be set aside on that day when the perfect is to come. Then, as if to explain, he shows how you can look at life from start all the way to finish. It’s the process of growing up, constantly growing up, coming out of childish things into mature things. Even as mature physical adults we’ve got to come out of our childish spiritual behavior and grow up. It’s a constant, one replacing another, one being absorbed into another as the fuller comes in the maturing process.
Look what he says in verse 11. “When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” I don’t think he’s just using physical maturation there. I think what he’s talking about is the spiritual maturity. That’s what he’s talking about. The church of Corinth needed to grow up. Chapter 3:1-3 says, “You’re babies. You’ve still got a pacifier in your mouth. You’re chasing after all these experiences. You’re trying to get an emotion when Christianity is not an emotion. It’s a person and being attached to Him.” Their knowledge was infantile. Their reasoning was infantile. Their speaking was inexcusable. And he says grow up. But he uses himself like a loving father. He says, “I was once a child and when I was a child I used to speak as a child and reason as a child.” He’s telling the Corinthian church, “Yes, you’re babies, but I was once a baby and God’s love is going to get you there. But in the meantime there’s a constant maturing that needs to be taking place. You need to be coming to the place of putting away those childish things and coming into the adulthood spiritually that God has for you.”
He says, “when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” That’s that word, “I set them aside.” I’m still capable of doing them now and then. But I set it aside. They were absorbed into something bigger because back then it was all I knew. Now it’s been absorbed in much, much more than I know. A maturing has taken place but there’s a final maturing that’s going to be awesome, far beyond anything that we’ll experience until Jesus comes. Life is a constant maturing. But when the perfect comes we will be like Him.
Love never fails. Once it’s received, it takes us all the way through the journey. It’s going to take us anyway. See, that’s what Ephesians is talking about when he says, “Once I have surrendered to Him, then I find out I comprehend for myself what is the breadth and the length and the depth and the height of God’s love. Then I can know and experience for myself the love of Christ.” Only at surrender.
Folks, we need to get into this. We need to realize that it is love that motivates us. It roots us. We’re grounded in it. It nourishes us. And that love, when received, is what’s going to give us the joy in the journey. But we are going to get there because love never fails. That’s the way you look at it. So it comes right back. What are we going to do with it? Are we going to bow before Him and attach ourselves to Him and let His love change us and change others around us? Are we going to let His love assure us of the hope that is coming or are we going to do it our own way and be miserable the whole journey? That’s why it’s much better to attach ourselves to the Giver than to live as a child enthralled with the gifts.
Paul is saying to the Corinthian church, “Go on and act like babies. But I want you to know something. God loves you even as babies. And His love in you is going to get you here. You’re going to be glorified one day. You will be like Him. Now, please enjoy the journey. Will you just submit to the One who is that love instead of chasing after fleshly garbage. Just submit to the Giver. It’s a whole lot more pleasant journey.
I don’t know if you’re as hard-headed as I am. I hope not. But about the only thing about getting older that’s good for me is I’m finally learning to quit beating my head against the wall. Paul says, “You’re kicking against the very things that God’s trying to use in your life.” Just submit and His love will see you through and will assure you that you’ll come out of those childish things. You will mature and one day you’re going to arrive at your destination because love never fails.