Sundays: 9 & 11am LATEST MESSAGE

Day 6 | Why (In Scripture) Is Love the Greatest?

Written by Jim Thompson

I and love and you. These three words are paramount to how we interact with others. Think about it: we say we love our family and friends, but then use the same word to talk about how we love food and sports and rock n’ roll. That’s so bizarre. The meaning of love can’t be the same in all of those, right? And further, some people have had fragile experiences with love where someone told them they loved them, and then broke up with them or neglected them or abused them. And yet still, we all ache for a pure definition and experience of love. 

Now contrast all of the above with how the Bible talks about love. The Bible says things like, “His love endures forever,” or “Love never fails,” or “There is no fear in love because perfect love casts out all fear, “ or “Greater love has no one than this, than someone lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus says love is the greatest commandment. John says that God is love. And Paul says, “These three abide: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.” But why? Why is love the greatest of these? Why isn’t holiness the greatest? Or joy? Or justice? Why can’t it be a tie somehow? Asking these questions will give us a biblical definition of love and show us how love is one of the dominant ways that God is talked about in Holy Scripture. So, why is love the greatest? The answer, according to 1 Corinthians 13, is:

Love in the Bible is God’s eternal, delightful, committed, self-giving posture and activity toward his people. The only thing in the universe that truly possess eternality is God himself. So, that’s why love in the Bible is God’s eternal posture and activity.

How did God express his eternal, committed love for his people? He gave himself in the person of Jesus. And what did Jesus do? He gave himself on the cross. He freely offered himself up as our representative, that all who trust him and have faith in him would eternally delight in God’s love. This is as close to the heart of love as we can fathom – that love is divine and love gives. The rest of the New Testament bears this out:

  • “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that all who believe would have eternal life.” John 3:16
  • “God shows us his love in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
  • “I have been crucified with Christ. The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
  • “Walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself as a sacrifice for us.” Ephesians 5:2
  • “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25
  • “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16
  • “This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent Jesus to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
  • “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood – to him be glory forever and ever, amen.” Revelation 1:5

May we respond to God’s great love in total dependence upon him and with total deference of love to others. May the cross of Jesus fuel our faith in him and shape our love for people. May Paul’s vision of love in 1 Corinthians 13 be a memorial of God’s love to us and an invitation to extend his love to others in Jesus’ name.