1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease…
I. AS A GIFT.
1. The apostle had been speaking of temporary gifts. Supernatural endowments were granted to the Church for a season only. The apostle intimates that there is a gift of richer value, and that the time would come when these would be bestowed no longer, and when that only would remain.
2. What a catastrophe would it be were it to become extinct! But it cannot fail. So wide a channel was made for it by the mission of the Son of God, that to stop its onward flow were as impossible as to prevent the rolling of the ocean's waves. Love as it dwells in the believer's breast is only a reflection of the love of the Creator. Hence it is a gift which never fails.
3. The gift of charity will never fail on earth, how then is it possible that it should fail in heaven? The period will arrive when not only miracles will cease, but even the ordinary means for the edification of the Church. But love will even then abide. Upon the blessed inhabitant of the upper sanctuary it will stream in richest plenitude, direct from the eternal throne.
II. AN ACTIVE VIRTUE.
1. It is a gift, but it is a gift to be employed, and on its exercise depends its value. Nor does it ever fail in this respect. It is ever seeking to do good, and to pour its gifts and blessings on the hapless sons of man.
(1) Its pity never fails. Wherever it beholds an object of distress, its efforts are put forth to give relief.
(2) Its liberality never fails. It is like an angel of mercy, which is never wearied with conferring favours, and never says you ask too much.
(3) Its ingenuities never fail. It is ever occupied in forming schemes to carry out its generous designs. Spurious or defective charity may fail, but true charity will never fail.
2. Look again into the eternal world. How active is the principle of love among the hosts of heaven! On earth, love is more or less mixed up with other things; in heaven it will be free from all defect. The family will be one. They will have one common interest. Each will contribute to the happiness of all. Jealousies will not be there. No envious feelings can be there indulged.
III. A SOURCE OF PURE AND ELEVATED ENJOYMENT. What is so constant as the joy that springs from the activities of benevolence? Man's happiness will ever be increased in proportion to the largeness of his soul. When other springs of pleasure are dried up, this will continue to flow in copious and refreshing streams. In heaven, our Father's house, love will be more pure, more elevated, and more fervent; and hence it will be there, as it is on earth, but in a far higher measure, the source of never-ending satisfaction and delight.
Parallel VersesKJV: Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.