But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (13:13)
Returning to the temporal, to the Christian’s earthly life, Paul mentions the three greatest spiritual virtues: faith, hope, and love. Actually faith and hope are encompassed by love, which “believes all things,” and “hopes all things” (v. 7). Because faith and hope will have no purpose in heaven, where everything true will be known and everything good will be possessed, they are not equal to love.
Love is the greatest of these not only because it is eternal, but because, even in this temporal life, where we now live, love is supreme. Love already is the greatest, not only because it will outlast the other virtues, beautiful and necessary as they are, but because it is inherently greater by being the most God–like. God does not have faith or hope, but “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
Gifts, ministries, faith, hope, patience, all one day will cease to exist because they will cease to have purpose or meaning. But in that perfect day, when we see our Lord “face to face,” love will for us be just beginning. But our showing love, practicing love, living love now are of utmost importance, more important than having any of the other virtues or gifts, because love is the link God gives us with His eternal Self.
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