In 1 Corinthians chapter thirteen, often called “the love chapter,” Paul starts out by continuing his thoughts written in chapter twelve where he wrote much about “spiritual gifts” (tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophesy, healings, works of faith, miracles, etc.). In many church circles these have received a lot of attention, but dear saints, there is so much more! Paul goes on to write,
What if I could speak all languages of humans and of angels? If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge? And what if I had faith that moved mountains? I would be nothing, unless I loved others. What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burned alive? I would gain nothing, unless I loved others. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 CEV)
When we abide in our Father’s seventh day of rest in heavenly places (see Hebrews 4:9-11), the “then” spoken of by Paul becomes the ever-present now for the Father with whom we dwell IN Christ is the Great I AM, not the I Was or the I Will BE. In this rest the implications of the above passage from Paul are eminence! Our former state spoken of here is “when I was a child” spiritually speaking, the “when I BECAME a man” speaks of spiritual maturity in THIS life which goes on into the next. Way too much of what is ours if we abide IN Christ has been put off in our thinking as “pie in the sky, by and by.” I believe this is because of the traditions of men in the churches led by immature leaders who have yet to entire into God’s rest, but are driven by carnal human forces (see 1 Cor. 3:1-5).
Paul continues in this famous “love chapter” to describe the attributes of God’s pure love…
Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, Does not behave itself rudely, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, keeps no record of evil; Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 KJ2000)
Then Paul starts telling us the nature of a life living in and perfected by love saying,
“But when that which is perfect has come, that which is in part [spiritual gifts] shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I reasoned as a child; when I became a man, I had done [away] with what belonged to the child. For we see now through a dim window obscurely, but then face to face; now I know partially, but then I shall know according as I also have been known. And now abide faith, hope, love; these three things; and the greater of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:10-13 Darby)
For the mature saint of God the old “now” of seeing obscurely and seeking powerful spiritual gifts — lives motivated and filtered by the lusts of that old Adam within—this kind of life is over! Our NEW life of knowing Christ and others even as WE are known by Him have now begun. What was once the “then” becomes our ever present now! It is here that ALL things become ours as we abide IN the Vine, Jesus Christ, and He abides in us. It is here that we finally start being the womb in which true spiritual fruit of the Father can take form and be brought forth into HIS kingdom. Oh, how we long for such in-depth, abiding fellowship first with the Father and the Son and then with one another. It is here that the greatest spiritual gift of all flows freely, His great gift of pure love which shines forth His presences within and gives His life to others.
Paul went on to write about this state of being saying, “For we see now through a dim window obscurely, but then face to face; now I know partially, but then I shall know according as I also have been known. And now abide faith, hope, love; these three things; and the greater of these is love.”
The old “now” of seeing obscurely– vision filtered by that old Adam within– are over! Our NEW lives of knowing Christ even as WE are known by Him have now begun. Oh, how we long for such in depth fellowship with one another in Christ wherein the greatest spiritual gift of all flows freely, His great gift of pure love!
“Father, make is so in each of us. Do what needs to be done to bring our Old Adam to naught. Make us into your broken vessels and let the sweet perfume of your love fill the whole house wherein we dwell, the very temple of God made not with hands but by you with Living stones.”
In His agape love for you all,