1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
I. WHAT IS THAT CHARITY WHICH IS THE SUBSTANCE AND REALITY OF ALL TRUE RELIGION.
(1) Not mere almsgiving.
(2) Nor that kindly disposition which naturally distinguishes some persons without any religious principle.
(3) Nor any affection which by human skill and labour can be produced in human nature. Education and example do much to restrain the outward expression of the malevolent passions; nay, it is a part of courtesy to hide them, but they are still there.
2. Positively. Charity, as described here, is a grace only of regenerated human nature. It springs only from love to God. "The fruit of the Spirit is love." Here the apostle speaks of this principle chiefly, as his subject required, in its acting towards men.
II. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE APOSTLE ENFORCES ITS IMPORTANCE AND NECESSITY. He places it —
1. Above all miraculous gifts. He does not depreciate them, but he exalts charity.
2. Above the most profuse almsgiving and the loftiest zeal.
3. Above knowledge.
4. Above faith and hope.Conclusion:
1. We see the tendency of men to mistake the external circumstances of religion for religion itself.
2. Let us elevate our views to the true character of the religion of Christ. Love is its principle, its vital flame.
3. Let us mark how much of religion exists in temper.
4. Rejoice in the prospect of a future state, which this chapter opens.
Parallel VersesKJV: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.