Take a look at 1 Corinthians 13:13:
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
What does it mean that the greatest of these is love? This comes just after Paul’s eloquent and famous description of what true love-agape love is. There are several ways in which love can be said to be the greatest. As we have just seen, 1 Corinthians 13:13 lists love along with faith and hope as a gift that lasts forever. The lasting nature of faith, hope, and love make them greater than all other gifts of the Spirit, which are temporary; the gifts of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:8 as coming to an end.
Of the three “forever gifts” love is the greatest. One of the reasons that LOVE is greater than faith and hope is that both faith and hope depend on love for their existence. Without love, there can be no true faith. Galatians 5:6 teaches us that FAITH works or is expressed through LOVE. Church, a loveless faith is nothing but an empty religious exercise.
As Paul says, “If I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). Without love, there can be no genuine hope; a loveless hope is an oxymoron, because we cannot truly hope for something that we do not love. Faith and hope are dead if not accompanied by love.
One of the reasons that love is the greatest gift is that it is essential to God’s nature. 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. God gives us His love, and we reflect that love back to Him: “We love because he first loved us” -1 John 4:19.
Take a look at John 15:9–17:
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
Here we see that love is something that has always existed among the persons of the Trinity. Because GOD is LOVE - love has no beginning and does not end. This is the kind of love Christ invites us to. He commands us to abide in His Love. What does it truly mean to abide? It means we are to live, continue, or remain. So when Jesus says “Abide in My Love” He’s commanding us to live in His love - to rest our lives on the love of Christ – on the One who laid down His life for us. When we remain in His love we seek no other means for our salvation. Abiding in Christ does not save us – it is the proof we are saved.
Jesus desired for future believers to be part of His love:
“I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them”
Next week, we will take a look at this love that God has and desires for each of His children. Stay tuned...