2010-01-28 - What is Lasting?
1 Cor 13:8 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. (NASB)
We think of things like the Grand Canyon, or the Pillars of Creation as lasting. It is hard enough to imagine the Grand Canyon being lost, but it is the product of erosion that continues. That process will continue to ever change the geography. One day in the distant future it may be completely unrecognizable to us as we know it today. The massive Pillars of Creation are stellar nurseries. They are structures that dwarf the Earth and our solar system. They are massive enough to exceed our ability to honestly comprehend. There is already a shockwave on the way that will destroy these massive stellar structures - several million years from now.
In the end we are told that all the things we can see and touch, indeed all of creation will be destroyed. The gifts of the Spirit will become unnecessary after time ends and we are all home. The gift of tongues - the least gift - to the gift of prophecy will cease. Even all the work that we have done as a witness will fade behind the work that Jesus did on the cross and has done in preparing our place in eternity.
But "Love never fails."
What kind of love are we talking about? We are told that marriage will cease (Matt 22:30). That is why we say until death do us part. Marriage is given for this life time as type of the relationship we will have with Christ. Will our believing friends be with us in heaven and know us? Yes they will be, and that is a real comfort in many ways. But the love that is described in verses four though seven is extraordinary. A love that "bears all things" is exemplary and rare.
In gymnastics, the last time I knew at least, a score of ten indicated perfection in the exercise that was presented to the judges. There is a difference in human perfection and genuine, untarnished perfection. The perfection judged on the balance beam is what can be determined by a human, finite group individuals. While they are well-trained, they can not detect the severely minute impertions in a performance. God knows our hearts and our minds. He sees our wondering or rash thoughts. He knows our frailty and set aside the glory that was deservedly His in Heaven to put on human flesh. He came as a baby and lived among us teaching, and rebuking where needed, never once stumbling into sin. He walked willingly to the cross when he could have said, "Enough!", at any moment and allowed the human race to be destroyed and lost to eternal punishment.
He did all this while we were still his enemies save a few who only had begun to understand His grace, mercy and love. While you and I were centuries from being born He died for us to cancel the power of sin. He rose again on the third day to crush the power of death over us and reopen the lone pathway to Heaven for humanity.
Will we still love our friends and family who are with us? Of course, and we will love them more perfectly every day. But the love that is already perfect is the love of Jesus Christ for his children - us. Even though we still struggle and stumble falling flat on our faces some days, He loves us standing ready to hear our every prayer carrying our cares and concerns of any size.
That is the love that will never fail. Selah.
Grace and Peace,