One thing Remains Above
First Corinthians 12
Talks about spiritual gifts, which are distributed by the Holy Spirit
one Christian may receive one type of gift
while another receives a different gift.
Chapter 13 goes one step further and mentions the
three gifts that are common for all Christians:
faith, hope, and love.
"And now these three remain:
faith, hope and love. But the greatest
of these is love.”
In stating that faith, hope, and love remain,
Paul does something interesting and unexpected: he uses a singular verb for a compound (and therefore plural) subject.
His statement in 1 Corinthians 13:13
could be literally rendered “faith, hope, and
Paul’s point is that, essentially, faith, hope, and love are united;
what happens to one happens to all.
And what happens is that
The fact that faith, hope, and love remain must be understood
in light of the broader context.
Paul had just listed another set of three gifts that
would not remain:
"Where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away”
(1 Corinthians 13:8).
So, the passage contains a contrast:
three gifts of the Spirit that will cease, and three
gifts that will never end.
Faith, hope, and love will always remain.
Paul reminds them of “the most excellent way”
(1 Corinthians 12:31)--
the way of love.
The gifts that the Corinthians so desired were
faith, hope, and love, the foundational gifts, are permanent and
therefore more to be desired.
Faith, hope, and love are gifts in the present age,
they will still be gifts in the age to come.
It’s easy to see how love will last forever, since love is
an essential part of God’s nature
(1 John 4:16).
Faith in the Son of God will not cease in the eternal state;
we will not stop
just because our 'faith has become sight'
our trust in Him will grow greater.
Similarly, our hope will not cease just because our blessed hope has come.
Our lives will continue in the eternal state,
as will our
expectation of other things in an infinite sequence of adventure.
“That Future presents itself to us as the continual communication
inexhaustible God to our
capacious and capable spirits.
In that continual communication there is continual progress.
Wherever there is progress there must be hope. And thus the fair form . . . will move before us through all the long avenues of an endless progress,
and will ever and anon come back to tell us of the
unseen glories that lie
beyond the next turn,
and to woo us further into the
depths of heaven and the fulness of God”
(MacLaren Expositions of Holy Scripture, 1 Corinthians).
Faith, hope, and love are the three gifts that will be ours
throughout all eternity. And agape love is the
God in His goodness gives us the privilege of possessing these gifts today,
we look forward to having them remain with us forever.
In Psalm 133,
King David praises the beautiful gift and
of unity among God’s people:
"How good and pleasant it is when God’s people
together in unity!”
As one of the pilgrimage
psalms or songs of ascent (Psalms 120—134),
Psalm 133 was aptly incorporated into the annual religious festivals in
all the families of Israel joined in Jerusalem to worship the Lord.
The word translated “good” in the original Hebrew means
“excellent, choice, select, having desirable qualities, agreeable to the senses.”
The word for “pleasant” further suggests “sweetness,” a quality
that affords pleasure and delight.
It is good and pleasant for God’s people to live together in unity because our harmonious and loving interactions please the Lord.
Jesus prayed for us to be united as one,
He and the Father are one
(John 17:11, 21–22).
If we live in unity, we reflect the integral,
triune relationship among God
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Likewise, unity brings fulfillment and happiness to those who experience it
(Ephesians 4:1–13; Colossians 3:14).
And bring Glory to God
David compared unity to
"precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe”
This association with the consecration and anointing of Aaron
relates to the blessing of God’s presence, which enables
His people to dwell together in harmony
(see Exodus 29:1–46; 30:22–38; Leviticus 8:12).
As high priest over all the
tribes of Israel,
Aaron entered the Most Holy Place
of the tabernacle
each year as a representative,
offering sacrifices of atonement for the sins
of all the people.
His priestly ministry provided
spiritual unification for the entire nation
Just as the oil ran down Aaron’s head
and beard and onto his robes,
love and harmony among Christian brothers and sisters flows
down and out and spreads blessings to the entire body of Christ.
The pleasant fragrance of unity also causes believers to
become appealing witnesses of
Christ’s love to the unbelieving world
(John 13:35; 17:11, 20–23).
Unity among God’s people is life-producing.
David likens unity to the dew of Hermon
“falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lordbestows his blessing, even life forevermore”
The northern slopes of Mount Hermon are
for producing copious amounts of refreshing, life-giving dew.
God causes the fresh, nourishing,
revitalizing blessing of
harmony to rest on His people, like cool mist
falling on the
mountains of Zion.
As is true of all good gifts,
brotherly unity comes from
It is good and pleasant for God’s people to be united because
together we possess great strength
to stand against and overcome our enemy, the devil
(1 Peter 5:9).
Our unity allows us to
support one another in the spiritual battle
God designed His church to operate
cohesive body and to use our gifts
complement and build one another up
(1 Corinthians 12:14–27).
When we pursue unity, we no longer live according to our old,
self-serving desires but instead
follow the apostle Paul’s recommendation:
prisoner for serving the Lord,
beg you to
lead a life worthy of
you have been called by God.
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other,
making allowance for
each other’s faults because of your love.
Make every effort
to keep yourselves united in the Spirit,
yourselves together with peace.
For there is one body and one Spirit,
just as you have been
called to one
glorious hope for the future”
(Ephesians 4:1–4, NLT).
It is good and pleasant for God’s people to be
united because unity helps us remain humble, “
one another's burdens
fulfill the law of Christ”
(Galatians 6:2, ESV).
When we sacrifice our desires for the
benefit of others,
we cultivate the kind of unity Paul advocated for:
“Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with
one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others.
thinking of others as better than yourselves”
(Philippians 2:2–3, NLT).
Unity is both the great blessing of God and
the great call of God on our lives.
Ultimately, God’s purpose--
“the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure”--
is to unite all people
under His rule
“bring unity to all things
heaven and on earth
(Ephesians 1:9–10; see also Philippians 2:9–11).
Forgiveness in the Bible
is a “release” or a “dismissal” of something.
The forgiveness we have
involves the release of sinners from
God’s just penalty
and the complete dismissal of
charges against us
(see Romans 8:1).
says that in God’s beloved Son
redemption, the forgiveness
God’s gracious forgiveness of
is to be the measure of our
gracious forgiveness of
To some people, forgiveness may
weakness or letting an undeserving person win,
but it has
no connection to weakness
even to emotions.
Instead, forgiveness is an act of the will.
Forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven.
No one deserves to be forgiven.
Forgiveness is a deliberate act
love, mercy, and grace.
Forgiveness is a decision
something against another person,
he or she has done to you.
What is forgiveness in relation to salvation?
Forgiveness is an integral part of salvation.
When Jesus forgives us, our
When Jesus said, “It is finished,” from the cross
He was literally saying,
“It is paid in full”
(tetelestai in Greek).
Jesus took the punishment we deserved, so,
when God forgives us of our sins,
we are free;
we no longer live under that debt.
Our sins are wiped out. God will
never hold that sin against us
It is impossible to have
salvation without forgiveness.
Salvation is God’s deliverance
the consequences of sin.
God’s salvation in Christ
ultimate example of extending forgiveness.
God’s forgiveness must be accepted
through repentance and faith.
you accepted forgiveness from God?
What is forgiveness of others?
Forgiveness is also an essential part of the life of believers.
Ephesians 4:32 commands,
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Similarly, Colossians 3:13 says,
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
The key in both passages
we are to forgive others as God has forgiven us.
Why do we forgive?
Because we have been forgiven!
The Bible tells us that we are to forgive those who sin against us.
We keep no record of wrongs
(1 Corinthians 13:5)
forgive as many times as necessary
Refusing to forgive a person demonstrates
resentment, bitterness, and anger,
none of which
are the traits of a growing Christian.
Biblically, forgiveness is not just something that the
offended person offers;
it requires the
offender to receive it,
reconciliation to the relationship.
God promises that,
when we come to Him
confessing our sin and asking for forgiveness,
He freely grants it for the sake of Christ
(1 John 1:9).
Likewise, the forgiveness we extend to others should
know no limits
“iron sharpens iron”
is found in Proverbs 27:17:
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
There is mutual benefit in the rubbing of
two iron blades together; the edges become sharper,
making the knives more efficient in their task
to cut and slice. Likewise,
the Word of God
is a “double-edged sword”
How much more, then, after the Fall of Man,
do we need to come together with our brothers and sisters in
Christ for seasons of fellowship and prayer?
Clearly, this was recognized
by the saints of the early church
who “devoted themselves” to teaching, fellowship, communion,
and prayer, all corporate activities
that provided opportunities for sharpening one another.
There are two points to make about the above proverb.
First, the meeting of two together in the Lord’s name will always
It is a means of grace that the Lord Himself promised—where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is among them (Matthew 18:20).
Also, we see a similar meaning in Malachi, for those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard
When we sharpen one another in real Christian fellowship, the Lord bends an ear from heaven and is pleased.
Not one word about Him which brings Him glory escapes His notice.
Love and Forgiveness the Law of Christ
The apostle Paul says
that we are to carry and share the issues and
burdens that we face daily, lament over personal sin,
advise on how best to repent of it,
and rejoice over the conquest of it.
This is the same “royal law” mentioned
in James 2:8,
where we are exhorted to love one another.
Returning to the analogy, if a knife is blunt,
it still continues to be a knife, although it is
less effective, less useful in service.
Let us therefore be encouraged to spend more time together,
exhorting, encouraging, praying, admonishing, sharing
sharpening one another with
Word of God
that has been sharpened will
also shine more
all the dullness has been
rubbed off its surface
Likewise, we will shine better for our Lord if we do the things mentioned above consistently, all of which will unite us in harmony. “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity” (Psalm 133:1). Therefore, as the author to the Hebrews says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,
let us encourage one another--
and all the more as you see the
First Peter 4:8 says,
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love
covers over a multitude of sins.”
Proverbs 10:12 says,
“Hatred stirs up conflict,
love covers over all wrongs.”
In what way does love cover sin?
To “cover” sin is to forgive it,
and forgiveness is associated with love.
The best example
of a love that covers sin is
Jesus’ sacrificial death on our behalf.
Jesus’ prayer from the cross, “Father, forgive them,” says it all
Jesus’ bearing of our iniquities was an
undeniable act of love
(Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10).
In fact, Jesus did more than just cover our sin; He did away with it completely
Jesus told His disciples,
“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”
First Corinthians 13 tells us that love “keeps no record of wrongs”
When we love each other, we are willing to forgive each other.
Love covers sin
in that it is willing to forgive.
First Corinthians 13:6
tells us that
“love does not delight in evil but
rejoices with the truth.”
Another thing love does is
(1 Corinthians 13:7).
Love covering sin also does not mean we disregard our own emotions
or ignore our personal boundaries.
We cannot “cover” sin by denying that it hurt us.
We cover sin by acknowledging it
and then extending
God has given us to others.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”
(1 Corinthians 13:4–7).
Another way that love covers over a multitude of sins is choosing not to take offense at everything. Some sins against us are not worth confronting. Personal slights, snide or ignorant remarks, and minor annoyances can be easily forgiven for the sake of love. Proverbs 19:11 says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” If we are patient, not envious or self-seeking, we are much less likely to even take offense.
Acting in love means we put others before ourselves. Love can cover a multitude of sin in that, when we act in true love, we are prone to overlook minor offenses, tolerate the provocations, and forgive the sin.
When we read of the "world" in the New Testament,
we are reading the Greek word cosmos.
Cosmos most often refers to the inhabited earth and the people who live on the earth, which functions apart from God.
Satan is the ruler of this "cosmos" (John 12:31; 16:11; 1 John 5:19). By the simple definition that the word world refers to a world system ruled by Satan, we can more readily appreciate Christ’s claims that
believers are no longer of the world--
we are no longer ruled by sin,
nor are we bound by the principles
of the world.
In addition, we are being changed into the image of Christ, causing our
interest in the things of the world to become
less and less as we mature in Christ.
Believers in Jesus Christ
are simply in the world--physically present--
but not of it,
This is the meaning of being holy is righteous life—to be set apart,
we are to conform
our minds, to that of Jesus Christ
This is a daily activity and commitment.
“by their fruits you shall know them,”
and as Christians, we should exhibit the
fruit of the Spirit within us.
Being “in” the world also means we can enjoy the things of the world, such as the beautiful creation God has given us.