By Brooke Holt
“Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” - 1 Corinthians 13:8-10
The Apostle Paul sought to bring godly perspective in every way. As the Corinthians focused on developing and exercising their spiritual gifts for their glory and temporal pleasure, Paul kept pointing them to see these gifts from God’s perspective. The spiritual gifts were given in love and to be used in love for God and his church. And Paul continued to develop their understanding of that love.
Whereas the Corinthians were currently focused on the temporal aspects of their faith, Paul reminded them of the eternal aspect of faith. Spiritual gifts were for this world. They were gifts given to build the body of Christ, to display God’s glory, and to build up one another in faith. But something greater was coming. When God’s people see him face to face, the old will pass away, and the new will come. There will be no need for spiritual gifts because in that glory, they will know perfectly and experience him completely. Gifts are for this “now but not yet” time. The time is now because God has already come in the person of Jesus to establish his kingdom on earth. It is also not yet because of the promise that Jesus will come again bringing the fullness and completion of his kingdom.
“Love never ends” because God never ends. When the fullness of his kingdom comes, you will know the perfect love that you were made for; you will experience the completeness of that love. For now, Paul would say to practice the gifts in love and remember that they are foretastes of what is to come: “but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away” (v. 10). This temporary practice of the spiritual gifts is good, but it is not complete nor is it eternal. Love is eternal. In God’s kingdom, there is and will always be love.
Paul would have the Corinthians (and you) focus on the eternal. Life is just the practice round for the finale. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world” (Mere Christianity). You, too, are made for another world!
How do you keep perspective on the things that are temporal and eternal? Sit with these words of Lewis today: “You were made for another world.” Your greatest desires reflect that the perfect has not yet come! We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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