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Is Love the Greatest?

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So I read this:

Now these three remain--faith, hope and love--but the greatest of these is love.

--1 Corinthians 13:13

And it makes me wonder: Why is love greater than faith and hope? And is there anything else that is greater than these three?
 
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My guess is that love is greater because it will remain unchanged. Our hope will be realised, our faith will be rewarded but our love will continue.
 
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Hekuran:

Thank you much for replying. Yes, what you say rings true. After all, Paul says:

Who hopes for what he already has?

--Romans 8:24

So I suppose there will be no need to hope in heaven. And I agree faith will be rewarded in heaven, too. But will it be realized as hope is? I mean, I can see that in eternity we will have no reason to hope for what we have already received. But will we also have no reason to believe? Or will we still have faith in God when we see Him face to face?
 
Loyal
It's interesting that faith and hope aren't commands from God. We should have them yes, but love is the only command of the three.

John 13:34; John 15:12; 2 Jn 1:5-6; Mark 12:31;
 
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Love is the greatest because 1 John 4:16 says that God is Love, love is the very essence of God's being, and the two great commandments are about love. Love is the greatest virtue, which must be put on above all other virtues (1 Col 3:14), if we want to display maturity and unity.
 
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RJ

First comes faith from belief, God gives that to you. With out faith there is no hope for an eternal future. When you die and go to heaven, there is no faith required, no hope because it has been revealed; the only thing that was in the begining and remains for all eternity is love. Love is eternal!
 
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Love is greater than hope and faith.
But there are two other virtues that are equally as great as love, and these are light and life.
When God created the Earth, first came the light (Gen 1:3), then the life, and love was there too. After the light and life created the earth and Adam, the first thing Adam experienced was God's great love.
The "Trinity" of God's virtues is love, light and life (1 John 1:3-5). These three virtues refer to the 3 persons of the Trinity.
Light is the main virtue of God the Father (1 Tim 6:16), but not independent of the other two virtues.
Love is the main virtue of God the Son (John 3:16, John 15:9), but not independent of the other two virtues.
Life is the main virtue of God the Spirit (John 6:63), but not independent of the other two virtues.

God's light is for creating and producing life. God's life is for overcoming death, sustaining, growth and for producing more life (fruit). God's love is not predominantly the same kind of affectionate human love that a parent feels for its child (because unlike earthly parents, the same God, judges and throws into hell), it is God's light and life communicated to us, in His Son Jesus Christ. When we come to Christ, we first experience His light, exposing our sinful condition, and showing us the truth, then His life, overcoming our deadness and darkness, and giving us eternal life, and then finally His love, revealing his care for us, particularly in giving us His light and life (and in fact everything we need, food, clothing etc). Light, life, and love are the three main attributes of God that Christians need to experience on a daily basis, and just like the Trinity, the three cannot exist independent of one another (imagine love without life - having affection and care but with death, or light without love - having the truth, but without care or affection).

If we want to experience more love, we need to know God's light and life. Actually, the kind of love which loves others, as given by the second great commandment, is the result of experiencing God's life and light in our daily life. God's light shows us that every person is created in His image, and deserving of love, and also that Christ died for them. God's life, gives us strength, and ability to endure with patience, the shortcomings of others, their insults and offenses. God's life satisfies us inwardly so that we can know our needs are met, and love others from a pure heart, without the human selfish kind of love which is based upon give and take, or giving love to gain, rather than God's kind of love, which results in charity without expectation to receive. This is why the more time that we spend in God's Word, to get light, and God's Spirit, to get life, the more we will spontaneously love God and others.
 
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It's interesting that faith and hope aren't commands from God. We should have them yes, but love is the only command of the three.

; ; ; ;
Thanks for replying, BAC. Please tell me: Why do you think that is?
 
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Love is the greatest because 1John4:16 says that God is Love, love is the very essence of God's being, and the two great commandments are about love. Love is the greatest virtue, which must be put on above all other virtues (1 C, if we want to display maturity and unity.
Thank you, James for replying. I'm not quite sure what this means:

And we know and have believed the love which God has in us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God abides in him.

(1 John 4:16)

I mean, what do the words, "God is love" mean? Do they mean the love (or compassion) I feel for another is itself God? That is, is God an emotion I feel?
 
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First comes faith from belief, God gives that to you. With out faith there is no hope for an eternal future. When you die and go to heaven, there is no faith required, no hope because it has been revealed; the only thing that was in the begining and remains for all eternity is love. Love is eternal!
I appreciate the response, RJ. Yes, as I said to Hekuran, I agree hope does not spring eternal. For no one continues to hope for what she receives. But does the same apply to faith? Will we cease to trust God in eternity?
 
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Thank you, James for replying. I'm not quite sure what this means:

And we know and have believed the love which God has in us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God abides in him.

(1 John 4:16)

I mean, what do the words, "God is love" mean? Do they mean the love (or compassion) I feel for another is itself God? That is, is God an emotion I feel?
No... God's love means His benevolence (well-meaning, and kindness) and good will. It means God is good, all the time, and not dark or evil. It is not the same kind of love as the affection you feel for your wife or husband, and definitely is not the sexual kind of love. God is love does not mean "love is God". Love is a virtue of God the person. But love itself is not God. God is a person who is loving, that is His nature. Knowing and believing the love which God has in us means God's love in sending the Son to be our Savior, which is the manifestation of God's love (verse 14, 1 John 4:9, and John 3:16). God is love, means that love is God's greatest and foremost virtue. God is light and life also, and these are intertwined with His love. But it is not His only virtue, He also has righteousness, by which he is also a judge (to be feared), and then lesser virtues of patience, humility, gentleness etc (Gal 5:22-23). Hopefully this answers your question.
 
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No... God's love means His benevolence (well-meaning, and kindness) and good will. It means God is good, all the time, and not dark or evil. It is not the same kind of love as the affection you feel for your wife or husband, and definitely is not the sexual kind of love. God is love does not mean "love is God". Love is a virtue of God the person. But love itself is not God. God is a person who is loving, that is His nature. Knowing and believing the love which God has in us means God's love in sending the Son to be our Savior, which is the manifestation of God's love (verse 14, , and ). God is love, means that love is God's greatest and foremost virtue. God is light and life also, and these are intertwined with His love. But it is not His only virtue, He also has righteousness, by which he is also a judge (to be feared), and then lesser virtues of patience, humility, gentleness etc (). Hopefully this answers your question.
Yes, I think I see. But let me be sure. When John writes, "God is love," he does not mean "Love is God." He instead means, "God is loving."

But loving is not all God is, for you said God is light. I suppose then I should next ask what do the words, "God is light" mean?
 
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Yes, I think I see. But let me be sure. When John writes, "God is love," he does not mean "Love is God." He instead means, "God is loving."
But loving is not all God is, for you said God is light. I suppose then I should next ask what do the words, "God is light" mean?
Yes, he means God is loving. Why say "God is love"? and not just say "God is loving"? John writes "God is love", to emphasis how loving God is, because God is good all the time. God is not good sometimes and evil other times, He is good and loving all the time, and He cannot change His nature just as a man cannot change his race. Love is such a fundamental part of His Person, that "God IS love". If I am a white person, I might say "I am white", I would not say "I have whiteness". Being white is such a fundamental part of who I am, that "I am white", not " I have whiteness".

About God is light:

1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

Again, God IS light. By the way, these "God is ... etc" things are predicative, not metaphoric. Light is such a fundamental part of God's person, that it cannot be distinguished from God Himself. If the Scripture said "God has light", this might mean that God has some light and He also has some darkness, but God has only light and no darkness at all, therefore "God IS light". Again, it doesn't mean that "light is God" because there are many sources of light - the Sun, electricity, fire etc, and these things are not God. God dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim 6:16),

Love is the nature of God's person, and light is God's manifestation (Gen 1:3). If we were to go to Heaven and actually see God, would would not see his love, we would see His light, his unapproachable light (1 Tim 6:16). But behind and in His light, in his person, is his nature of love. And producing both His love and His light, is His life, which is the very essence of His person as the Spirit of life. When God's light shines upon us, it becomes truth. If you believe that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you believe this because God's light has shone upon you and has become the truth. If you have experienced God's grace (unmerited, undeserved favor) it because you have experienced God's love and God loves you. Love results in God's grace, and light results in God's truth. Both love and light result from God's life (John 1:4), which is the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:2).
 
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Yes, he means God is loving. Why say "God is love"? and not just say "God is loving"? John writes "God is love", to emphasis how loving God is, because God is good all the time. God is not good sometimes and evil other times, He is good and loving all the time, and He cannot change His nature just as a man cannot change his race. Love is such a fundamental part of His Person, that "God IS love". If I am a white person, I might say "I am white", I would not say "I have whiteness". Being white is such a fundamental part of who I am, that "I am white", not " I have whiteness".

About God is light:

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

Again, God IS light. By the way, these "God is ... etc" things are predicative, not metaphoric. Light is such a fundamental part of God's person, that it cannot be distinguished from God Himself. If the Scripture said "God has light", this might mean that God has some light and He also has some darkness, but God has only light and no darkness at all, therefore "God IS light". Again, it doesn't mean that "light is God" because there are many sources of light - the Sun, electricity, fire etc, and these things are not God. God dwells in unapproachable light (),

Love is the nature of God's person, and light is God's manifestation (). If we were to go to Heaven and actually see God, would would not see his love, we would see His light, his unapproachable light (). But behind and in His light, in his person, is his nature of love. And producing both His love and His light, is His life, which is the very essence of His person as the Spirit of life. When God's light shines upon us, it becomes truth. If you believe that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you believe this because God's light has shone upon you and has become the truth. If you have experienced God's grace (unmerited, undeserved favor) it because you have experienced God's love and God loves you. Love results in God's grace, and light results in God's truth. Both love and light result from God's life (), which is the Holy Spirit ().
Yes, I think what you are saying is shedding light on the subject. For I am starting to see and no longer in the dark!

So we have these two statements of John--two truths about what God is:

God is love.

and

God is light.

God is love because it is through his love we receive undeserved forgiveness. And about light, these words of Christ come to mind:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

(John 8:12)

Would you say these words apply to anyone who has a mind capable of understanding? Would you say they might even apply to those whose eyes are damages and see no light at all? Do they apply to someone born blind?
 
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Yes, I think what you are saying is shedding light on the subject. For I am starting to see and no longer in the dark!

So we have these two statements of John--two truths about what God is:

God is love.

and

God is light.

God is love because it is through his love we receive undeserved forgiveness. And about light, these words of Christ come to mind:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

(John 8:12)

Would you say these words apply to anyone who has a mind capable of understanding? Would you say they might even apply to those whose eyes are damages and see no light at all? Do they apply to someone born blind?

In Genesis the first thing that God created is the light and He separated light from darkness to bring order and government and time which is a form of regulation (Gen 1:14-19). When we become Christians, one of the first things God gives us is his light to bring His Kingdom into us, His rule and reign in our hearts, to deliver us from sin. It is because God gives us His light, that we might say "before I was saved, I used to enjoy getting drunk with alcohol, but now after I am saved I cannot do these things anymore". This is an example of God's light operating in our hearts.
John 8:12 that you quoted mentions the light of life, which delivers us from darkness (sin).
In order to understand we have to have His life, which is brought by His Spirit, and this gives us the light to see and understand.

It applies to everyone even if they cannot see the physical light such as blind people. The physical light is mainly to remind us of the real light which is Christ. John 1:9 says Christ is the true light:
John 1:9 says "The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world."
All the other lights that God created, including the sun, stars, moon etc, are only shadows of the real light who is Christ.
In future there will be no more day and night or sun, God himself will be our light because He is the real light:
Rev 22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
John 1:4 says "In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind."
Jesus came to give us life (John 10:10) and this life becomes our light (John 1:4).
When we receive the light we get the truth. The truth that we are sinful and need a Savior, the truth about Christ, that He is God's Son who died on the cross to atone for our sins, the truth about the Kingdom of God and the riches of Christ, and many other things. These are not things that we learn, but things revealed to us by God's life and light from the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:8 - at one time we were blind and walked in darkness. Then God came to us and gave us His life, and this life gave us His light, and this light took away our darkness and enabled us to see and know the truth. Like the sun rules over the day, and the moon and stars over the night, His light also works in our hearts to govern our lives, so that we walk righteously and do not walk in darkness (sin). Our experience of the conviction of the Holy Spirit is due to God shining His light on those areas we need to confess. When we have the sense that we have done or said something wrong, and we pray "Lord forgive me", that is proof that God's light is shining in our hearts. When a passage of the Bible that was once unclear to us suddenly becomes clear and understandable, that is also an example of God's light operating within us.





 
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In Genesis the first thing that God created is the light and He separated light from darkness to bring order and government and time which is a form of regulation (). When we become Christians, one of the first things God gives us is his light to bring His Kingdom into us, His rule and reign in our hearts, to deliver us from sin. It is because God gives us His light, that we might say "before I was saved, I used to enjoy getting drunk with alcohol, but now after I am saved I cannot do these things anymore". This is an example of God's light operating in our hearts.
that you quoted mentions the light of life, which delivers us from darkness (sin).
In order to understand we have to have His life, which is brought by His Spirit, and this gives us the light to see and understand.

It applies to everyone even if they cannot see the physical light such as blind people. The physical light is mainly to remind us of the real light which is Christ. says Christ is the true light:
says "The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world."
All the other lights that God created, including the sun, stars, moon etc, are only shadows of the real light who is Christ.
In future there will be no more day and night or sun, God himself will be our light because He is the real light:
There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
says "In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind."
Jesus came to give us life () and this life becomes our light ().
When we receive the light we get the truth. The truth that we are sinful and need a Savior, the truth about Christ, that He is God's Son who died on the cross to atone for our sins, the truth about the Kingdom of God and the riches of Christ, and many other things. These are not things that we learn, but things revealed to us by God's life and light from the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:8 - at one time we were blind and walked in darkness. Then God came to us and gave us His life, and this life gave us His light, and this light took away our darkness and enabled us to see and know the truth. Like the sun rules over the day, and the moon and stars over the night, His light also works in our hearts to govern our lives, so that we walk righteously and do not walk in darkness (sin). Our experience of the conviction of the Holy Spirit is due to God shining His light on those areas we need to confess. When we have the sense that we have done or said something wrong, and we pray "Lord forgive me", that is proof that God's light is shining in our hearts. When a passage of the Bible that was once unclear to us suddenly becomes clear and understandable, that is also an example of God's light operating within us.





Yes, but there is one thing I'm not clear about: What do you believe the light about which Jesus speaks is? You have told me what it is not. For you said it is not the visible light of the sun, moon and stars. And you said darkness represents sin. Perhaps then you will fill in the blank for me:

Darkness is to sin
as light is to ______ .
 
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RJ

I appreciate the response, RJ. Yes, as I said to Hekuran, I agree hope does not spring eternal. For no one continues to hope for what she receives. But does the same apply to faith? Will we cease to trust God in eternity?
I think I know what you are trying to say and I agree in a way but, like all positives, our trust in God will be perfect and complete! This is the same as , there will be no doubt, no worry, no negatives and certainly "no more tears"!
 
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Yes, but there is one thing I'm not clear about: What do you believe the light about which Jesus speaks is? You have told me what it is not. For you said it is not the visible light of the sun, moon and stars. And you said darkness represents sin. Perhaps then you will fill in the blank for me:

Darkness is to sin
as light is to ______ .
I did say what it was, a couple of times. I will summarize - when we receive the light we get the truth, which means that God becomes real to us, and we know who Christ is (Matt 16:17). Darkness is to falsehood (which includes sin, but darkness is not just about sin), as light is to truth. To summarize how the love, light and life of God fit together, as Scripture reveals - the Holy Spirit gives us life, this life issues in love and light. The love issues in grace, and the light issues in truth. John 1:17 says grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, because He brought us God's life, love and light. Jesus is the true light of the world (John 1:9), and also God's love to us (John 3:16), and Jesus is also the life (John 14:6).

On the negative side, of man's fallen condition, the fall of man brought death, this death issued in hatred and darkness. The hatred brought judgement and works and anything else opposite grace, and the darkness brought sin. God's solution to sin and darkness is light. God's solution to judgement and works is grace. God's solution to hatred is love. God's solution to death, is life. Christ is our light, grace, love, and life. God's solution is found in Christ.
 
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RJ

I did say what it was, a couple of times. I will summarize - when we receive the light we get the truth, which means that God becomes real to us, and we know who Christ is (Matt 16:17). Darkness is to falsehood (which includes sin, but darkness is not just about sin), as light is to truth. To summarize how the love, light and life of God fit together, as Scripture reveals - the Holy Spirit gives us life, this life issues in love and light. The love issues in grace, and the light issues in truth. John 1:17 says grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, because He brought us God's life, love and light. Jesus is the true light of the world (John 1:9), and also God's love to us (John 3:16), and Jesus is also the life (John 14:6).

On the negative side, of man's fallen condition, the fall of man brought death, this death issued in hatred and darkness. The hatred brought judgement and works and anything else opposite grace, and the darkness brought sin. God's solution to sin and darkness is light. God's solution to judgement and works is grace. God's solution to hatred is love. God's solution to death, is life. Christ is our light, grace, love, and life. God's solution is found in Christ.
Certainly light is symbolic of sinlessness and truth but we limit God who is limitless, if we think that's all there is to light is symbolism. How did God create light in the begining when there was no light? God is light!

  • Revelation 22:5
  • 1 John 1:5
 

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