The Greatest Of These

   1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “No abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but, the greatest of these is charity.”  Charity is a special kind of love.  It is sacrificial, self-giving, the kind of love that is not based on merit, either present or future.  Charity comes forth from a commitment, a determination, or we might say, a decision.  It is greater than faith.  Faith is so important that one could not be a Christian without it, nor could one do anything pleasing to God without it.  Charity is greater than hope, which is the very spark that keeps us going when the going gets tough.  Without hope, we would be doomed to failure and fatality, we would soon lose our mind and become a total basket case.  Yet, as great as these things are, this special love is better.  Faith will, one day, become sight.  In heaven, we will not have to have faith in anything, it will all be sight.  Hope will become present reality, but this special kind of love will go on for all eternity.  It never fails.  Charity is not simply great by comparison, it is great in its own right.  Charity is the motivating factor by which we serve God.  The person who sets out to serve God, fearing that if he doesn’t he will go to hell when he dies, is not really serving God at all, but is serving himself.   Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”   Charity is the very platform from which we present the gospel message to those who have not come to faith in Christ.  Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.”  This special kind of love is not something that we work up in our own life, although we do determine to live as a giver of it.  It is the supernatural work of God’s grace in the life of a believer, and it tells the tale as to whether or not God’s supernatural work has taken place.  First Corinthians 13:1 says in effect, “No matter what else you do, without this love, it’s not worth anything.”

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