Paul’s famous passage is most often used to celebrate the eternal nature of love. It is read at weddings and preached in sermons, almost always talking about how beautiful and powerful love is. For good reason.
Love is the greatest, but the other two elements remain. Faith and hope are still with us. They are constantly knocking on our door, essential to the current state of our existence.
But why is Love the greatest? 1 Corinthians 13 makes clear that no human action is worthwhile without love. Love defines whether what we do is meaningful or worthless. There is another aspect that makes love the greatest – it is the only one of the three that will remain in the next life. When we see, there is no place for belief. When we have, there is no place for hope.
What that means is that our life on this side of eternity is the only opportunity we will have in our entire existence to know God by faith. There is no redo. This is it. There is an expiration date on living by faith. When we leave this earth, faith will be unnecessary. We will know by sight.
This is a unique and powerful opportunity. We get a hint at this when the Bible tells us the angels are learning about God by watching us. What can we do that they can’t? They certainly can’t live by faith, because they are in God’s presence.
Each day is a once-in-an-existence opportunity. Today will never come again. Let’s embrace each day for all it is worth, exercising the great blessing or faith, and participating in the Eternal Love that transcends all.
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:12-13