Love Never Fails

Often called the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13 gives a foundation for understanding sacrificial love. This love is not limited to or equated with passionate feelings, but rather involves our inner sense of the intrinsic value of people. Sacrificial love was demonstrated in a unique way when Jesus the Messiah offered himself willingly as a sacrifice for the sins of all people who believe in him.

The essential character of God is centered in love. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” NIV

God’s love, demonstrated by Jesus Christ, calls us to love God in return, and to come to him in faith and have life. Through that life in him, we are to show the love of God to others in the way that we live our lives. Paul says that love never fails, in comparing it to temporary gifts. That means that love endures, and has an eternal quality. God’s nature is equated with love by the apostle John, 1 John 4:8 and 16, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”------ “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” NIV

Therefore love for each other becomes the evidence that we are alive in Jesus Christ. As John explained it, love for one another is evidence that we belong to God, even when we doubt ourselves: 1 John 3:16-24, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

“Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” NIV

Obviously, from this context, our abiding in Christ is evidenced by how we treat each other. His Spirit living in us will encourage us to show concern for the helpless, remembering that Jesus said in Matt 25:37-40, "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'”

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'” NIV

So love of the helpless, meaning having a heart that is concerned for their needs and that tries to help them, is evidence that we desire to please Jesus.

God’s love never fails. It is unending, providing hope to all who believe and trust in Jesus Christ. Christians are encouraged to put love to work in our lives, 1 Peter 1:22-23, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” NIV

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