1Co 13:8-10 “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
In a world where there is failure all around us, this should be a source of great joy and comfort to God’s people. Regardless of what else is falling apart, the love of Christ never fails. Even when we do not understand why things are happening as they do, we can rest assured in the steadfastness of God’s charity toward His children.
We should never look at things that fail in any sense of the word and equate those things with the charity of God which we receive from Him and are able to share with others. Prophecies may fail, but that is not due to any failure in Christ. On the contrary, true prophecies fail (end) in the sense that they become fulfilled at some point according to the charity of God. False prophecies are doomed to failure from the start because their premise is flawed and they lack divine inspiration.
We all understand that at some point, we will cease to use language to speak to those we love. When death claims us, our natural speech ends. As for the praise that will go on around God’s eternal throne, the expectation is that we will be of one speech there and praise Him in unity and harmony. It has been my great joy over the years to discover, what is for me at least, another way in which languages cease.
Through the wonder of modern technology, we find ourselves in almost daily communication with people from all over the world. While our “natural” tongues may sound differently and be incomprehensible to one another, it is with great joy that I have discovered that our testimony to the grace and love of Christ Jesus is one language. Because the love of Christ never fails, we are able to speak together with great joy of His mercy toward undeserving sinners such as we are.
Knowledge will never be useless as long as the world stands. However, just as the time will come when we have no need for “tongues,” we will cease to have a need for knowledge as we perceive it here. Because charity never fails, we look forward to a time when we “shall know as we are known.” We will know the Triune God in His fullness and there will be no more questions.
As we grow in grace and knowledge of the truth, it becomes increasingly apparent to us that our knowledge of today and our understanding of the future are severely limited. The more we know about God, the more we realize how very little we know. As we are blessed by the Spirit to preach more and more of the whole counsel of God, the more we realize that His counsel is greater than our ability to contain in its fulness.
We have the great assurance when that which is complete (perfect) is come then that which is only a portion (part) will vanish. In His great mercy, God gives us little glimpses of the wonder of this in our service to Him. On those occasions when we are blessed to exercise the mind of Christ, we enjoy a completeness of thought and fellowship that defies mortal language. Yet even then, we realize that as wondrous as it is, it is only a part of a greater whole that we cannot yet fathom.
Our ability to embrace and rejoice in these things is found in Paul’s initial declaration in verse 13: charity never fails! We look at all the confusion around us and know that God is not confused. We see all that we do not understand, and we know that nothing is hidden from Him. Although we may see only chaos, we know in our hearts that God is in control of our lives, and our salvation is assured in Him.
May we rejoice every day in the peace of knowing that the love of Jesus never fails!