Christians have rightly named 1st Corinthians 13 the LOVE chapter. It has 3 well-defined divisions: 1) The NECESSITY of love (verses 1-3); 2) The CHARACTER of love (verses 4-7); and 3) The PERMANENCE of love (verses 8-13). In our meditation today we will look at some of the “characteristics” of love in verse 4 and the “permanence” of love in verse 8. Verse 4 reads, “Love in patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered” (NASB). Perhaps the apostle Paul, who had spent a good deal of time in Corinth, knew that many of the Corinthians were characterized by the opposite of these things. In other words, they were “impatient, unkind, envious, self-centered, easily offended, and resentful. We will benefit greatly by knowing the character of true LOVE, so here’s a short definition of each word.

*PATIENT….Love will be “slow to anger and suffer long while being provoked.”

*KIND….Love is seen by “doing good to others, including those who seek to do you harm.”

*NOT JEALOUS….Love is “not envious of the success of others, nor will it desire what they have.”

*DOES NOT SEEK ITS OWN….Love “does not promote its own interests or rights.”

*NOT PROVOKED….Love “does not take offense, but endures insults.”

*TAKES NO ACCOUNT OF WRONGS SUFFERED….Love “does not keep record wrongs done by others.”

Verse 8 says, “Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.” The word “fail” in this verse means “cease.” So it could be translated, “Love will never cease to be active or manifested.” In other words, LOVE is ETERNAL. In contrast to love, gifts of prophecy (speaking forth God’s message), tongues (speaking a language one has never learned), and knowledge (a special knowledge of truth) will cease. When will they cease? They will be done away with WHEN THEY ARE NO LONGER NEEDED! The purpose of these gifts was for the edification of the church, but WHEN THE CHURCH IS TAKEN HOME TO GLORY, these gifts will no longer be needed. They were meant to be TEMPORARY. This is borne out in verses 9-10, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away” (NKJV). We believe the words “that which is perfect” refer to the ETERNAL STATE when the church will no longer need to edified, for we will all be PERFECT! Let’s compare this to Ephesians 4:11-13, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ” (NKJV). This passage is teaching us that spiritual gifts are needed for the edifying of the church UNTIL we all come to a state of unity, PERFECTION (complete maturity), and conformity (to Christ). When does that happen? At the Rapture, when Christ will summon us to eternal glory. We will then be PERFECT in every way. In that state of perfection; one thing shall never cease to be active….that one thing is LOVE!  (207.9)  (DO)