QUESTION: WHY IS LOVE THE GREATEST GIFT?
STUDY REFERENCE: 1 Corinthians 13, Matthew 22:34-40, 1 John 4:7-8.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Love is not defined according to human standards but by God, who is love. When someone is transformed by God’s love, then he or she will reflect this love to others. God’s Word commands, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7–8).
Jesus taught that all of the Old Testament commandments can be summed up in love, first love for God, and then love for mankind (Matthew 22:34–40; Romans 13:8–10). Love is the essence of Christianity, and as we read in 1 Corinthians 13:8, love never fails. Actually, the Greek word is ekpiptei, which means to fall away or perish. This is another reason why love is greater, it never ends!
One day faith will become sight and hope will be realized. These two attributes will be unnecessary in the eternal state, but love will never cease. If anything, it will grow greater still when we behold our Lord face to face. Then we will love God and each other with a perfect love for all eternity.
Paul mentions the three greatest spiritual virtues: faith, hope, and love. Actually, faith and hope are encompassed by love, which “believes all things,” and “hopes all things”, because faith and hope will have no purpose in heaven, where everything true will be known and everything good will be possessed, they are not equal to love.
Love is the greatest of these not only because it is eternal, but because, even in this temporal life, where we now live, love is supreme. Love already is the greatest, not only because it will outlast the other virtues, beautiful and necessary as they are, but because it is inherently greater by being the most God–like. God does not have faith or hope, but “God is love” (1 John 4:8).