1 Corinthians 13:2
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith…
These are the words of a man of high culture, who could prophesy and work miracles, and had attained great faith, to the most learned nation in the world. See how he loads the scales and strikes the balance of head and heart !All the rest is as light as a feather compared with love.
I. WHY SHOULD LOVE RANK THUS HIGH?
1. "God is love." God has knowledge, and wisdom, and power infinite; but He is never said to be knowledge, etc. Love is His essence, the rest are His attributes: and whatever comes nearest to the image of God is the finest condition of man.
2. The greatest deed ever done was the result of "love."
3. The first-fruit of the Holy Ghost is love. So we have a Trinity of love.
4. What brings salvation? Say that I believe every truth in the Bible. That is all nothing. "The devils believe and tremble." But when I believe and feel it is all for me, it is mine immediately I love. I cannot help loving when it is so personal to myself, and that moment I am saved.
5. And what moves to good actions and makes them continuous? Love. There are plenty of things which will give impulse and start, but there is only love which will give continuance. "Love," and only love, therefore, "is the fulfilling of the law"
6. What will be the subject of the great Judgment Day? Love. "Inasmuch as ye have done," etc.
7. And what will heaven be? Perfect love.
8. And what is the whole summary of the law by which we try ourselves? "Thou shalt love." That is the great subject of self-examination this Lent.
9. And why are we to be sorry for our sins, and so humble? From sorrow for having been so very ungrateful to so good a God. This is the true spirit of all Lenten exercises, without which it would not be acceptable to God, nor do us any good.
II. HOW IS THIS PREREQUISITE FOR ALL THAT IS GOOD AND PLEASING TO GOD, AND ALL THAT SHALL MAKE OUR VERY BEING IN HIS SIGHT TO BE OBTAINED?
1. Take clearer and loving views of God, always waiting and yearning to receive back His prodigal.
2. Take grand views of the power of the Cross. And as you see it, feel "That is all for me."
3. Cherish every good emotion of the Holy Ghost. Especially look to Him as the love-maker, and ask Him to create love in that heart of yours.
4. And then, as working with Him, who is working in you, do stronger battle with your temper, pride, selfishness.
5. Then go and do some acts of love. Acts make motives, as well as motives make acts. Do acts of love, that you may get the spirit of love.
6. But remember above all that all life, which is life indeed, is the result of union with Him, who is the life. The life of love depends upon that union; without it, love will soon die. Having Christ, you will have love; but the more you have of Christ, the more you will always say, "I am nothing, because Christ is everything."
(J. Vaughan, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.