We come to the conclusion today of Paul’s epic defense of Love as the more excellent way of Christian life. Better than having the best spiritual gifts, more important than works or eloquence or knowledge, patient, kind, humble, and faithful– love, the Love of God grown to maturity in the hearts of His followers is the ultimate Christian attribute.
In that great day when our imperfect sight will be replaced by seeing Jesus face to face; when our partial knowledge is replaced by knowing Him as well as He knows us, Paul says there are three things that will last forever. They are faith, hope, and love, but of the three, the greatest is love.
God is Love. We love Him because He first loved us. We have faith in Him, because He so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son. And we have hope in Him, because He has promised to come again for us, to take us to the Place He has prepared for us, so that we can be with Him forever. Once we have really come to rest in the Love of God, once it has taken root in our hearts and grown to full maturity, all of these other attributes of faith, humility, patience, endurance, and hope will blossom in our characters. Others will see and take note that we have been with Jesus.
The greatest of these is love. Unless God had first loved, we would still be lost and separated from Him. And, unless we love Him, all our strivings to be better, even to serve Him, are meaningless. And when the circle of love between God and a soul is complete, the love which spreads out from them to include others, changes the world.