Angelic Conflict part 221: Human history (the Church) – 1Co 13; 11:1-20; 1Pe 4:8; Gal 5:22-23; 2Co 3:18; Heb 10:19-25
Title: Angelic Conflict part 221: Human history (the Church) – 1Co 13; 11:1-20; 1Pe 4:8; Gal 5:22-23; 2Co 3:18; Heb 10:19-25.
1Co 12:31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts.
And I show you a still more excellent way.
1Co 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong [marketplace] or a clanging cymbal [hired mourners or cultic worshippers].
1Co 13:2 And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
The impatience, the envy, and the pride in the Corinthian (or any) church would all be removed with divine, virtue love.
1Co 13:4 Love is patient [long tempered], love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
1Co 13:5 does not act unbecomingly [defiance of divine standards]; it does not seek its own [not selfish but seeks the welfare of others], is not provoked [to anger], does not take into account a wrong suffered [doesn't keep a list],
1Co 13:6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness [iniquity], but rejoices with the truth;
1Co 13:7 bears all things [covers all things], believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love is ... long tempered, kind, not jealous, doesn't brag, not arrogant, doesn't defy divine standards, not selfish, not provoked to anger, doesn't account wrongs suffered, doesn't rejoice in iniquity, rejoices with the truth...
Love conceals the faults and imperfections of others, believes the best about others, supposes future deliverance of others, and bears up under all pressures. [vs. 7 expanded]
Look at this description carefully. It is a list of divine virtues. It is a list of character and divine honor.
Love is a manifestation of the essence of God through the heart of a fallen creature. It is the ultimate declaration of God's transformation of man without undoing all the evil that man has done.
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
Wicked people rejoice when others fall into sin. Love doesn't rejoice even when an enemy falls into sin. Our media saturated world is drenched in this attitude. There are camera phones everywhere waiting to catch people in sin, failure, embarrassment, etc. especially if the person is popular.
and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
The believer operating in love rejoices with the truth, a reference to the word of God and its truth concerning all things.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.
The description definition of agape love is mimicked in the fruit of the Spirit, therefore we would conclude that agape includes the other virtues and so is the capstone of all virtue. If you have agape love in your heart then the other virtues have to exist. If I say I have a brand new car it goes without saying that I have an engine, transmission, wheels, ignition, battery, etc.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy [rejoices with truth], peace [hopes all things], patience [patient], kindness [kind], goodness [doesn't act unbecomingly], faithfulness [bears all things], gentleness [doesn't take into account a wrong suffered], self-control [self-control]
By this is My Father glorified, that you bear [bring forth] much fruit, and so prove to be [ginomai - become] My disciples.
1Co 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.
This gift of agape love to the church is eternal, while temporary spiritual gifts will cease.
"fail" - pi,ptw[pipto] = to fall, to plunge down, to collapse, or to pass away. Agape love will never fall away or fade away as many other things will.
For, "All flesh is like grass,
And all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
And the flower falls off,
But the word of the Lord abides forever."
Though not a part of our study now, though I'm sure that it will in the future, it is a wonderful and fruitful exercise to think of all the things that you know of that are going to abide forever. These are the things that are most worthy of investment.
In contrast, what are the Corinthians valuing? They esteem the spectacular gifts as these feed their pride and have neglected God's virtue love.
1Co 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part;
Plato said, "the wisest of mortals will appear but an ape in the estimation of God." Some think that this verse is describing the incomplete canon of scripture. And although more knowledge would come through divine revelation through Paul and then finally through the apostle John, we could confidently say that we still know only in part. The prophecy is again a reference to the temporary spiritual gift at the beginning of the church. We won't even ever be able to say we completely understand the entire Bible. And certainly what is revealed in the Bible is not the complete revelation of all the knowledge of God. How many angels are there? How old is the universe, or how big? What is the cure for the common cold? These are but a few samplings of infinite wisdom. Mankind thinks he's so smart. Einstein is a goat compared to the dumbest angel, never mind the comparison to God.
Also, verse eight is speaking of the eternal nature of love, and so we would conclude that:
"the part" is not the unfinished canon but all the partials (including the finished canon) that we can know in our finite minds. These will be done away in eternity and the eternal things, Christ, virtue, the truth, election, predestination, adoption, faith, hope, etc will be made complete. These are the things that we should be investing in during this time of the partials.
1Co 13:10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
The word perfect is the Greek word for complete, finished, as well as perfect in reference to God, Christ, and God's will. It would seem here that it is a reference to eternity when all of human history is complete, all judgment is complete, and all believers have been brought into glory and there is no more death. At this time, actually without time, all the partials will be done away with and all that will remain is that which is perfect and eternal.
1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
The impetus here is that what we have now compared to what we will have in eternity is like a child's mind compared to an adult.
It's just an analogy and shouldn't be taken any farther than that. Our wisest are like children compared to what we shall be in eternity. Therefore, be humble and never elevate a man or put someone on a pedestal.
1Co 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly [the mirror is the word of God], but then face to face [eternity - from the written word to the living word]; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.
But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
This is not to mean that as soon as I enter heaven my soul will be downloaded with all knowledge. Paul is referencing eternity and not just the first "day" of eternity, as if there was such days. There will be no hindrances to our ability to obtain knowledge and we will not grow old or tire of learning, but in vigor, not day to day as there is no need for sleep so as to even have days, but a continual growth in knowledge of God and His ways. Since God is infinite there is no end to it and nor will and end be anticipated as it is now in death. This image is alien to us now, but soon it will not be.