1 Corinthians 13: The Love of Christ in Us

This entry is part 151 of 154 in the series 365 Key Chapters of the Bible

Christianity is not so much a religion as it is a romance. It is the story of a God who woos us to Himself and calls us His bride. It is the story of our lives becoming more and more like the life of Christ, learning to love like He loves us.

The Love of Christ in Us

Apart from Christ, we cannot love as we ought. In our own power, it is impossible to keep Christ’s command to love as He loves us. This is evident if we stop and consider what 1 Corinthians 13:4–7 says about love:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

This love is the opposite of the things to which we are naturally drawn. Left to ourselves, we are not patient or kind. We covet what does not belong to us and brag about things that are really gifts from God. We seek our own good before that of others. Only the life of Christ in us—the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit—enables us to love in the way we ought.

For those of us who walk by the Spirit, we can now be patient. We can be kind, rather than jealous. We don’t have to brag or be arrogant. We don’t have to act unbecomingly, seek our own, or be provoked to anger. We don’t have to take into account a wrong suffered or rejoice in unrighteousness.

And the more we walk in this way by the power of the Spirit, the more our character becomes conformed to the image of Christ. Training and habituation lead us to continue walking in the Spirit instead of in the flesh. It becomes a disposition, part of our character.

The Love of God for Us

If God’s love is the basis for our love, then we should seek to understand His love for us that we might love others in the same way.

Why does God love us? The closest I can come to an answer is what Moses says to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 7:7–8:

The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers…

The Lord chose you because He chose you—it is not because of anything in you. If it were, then God’s love would be conditional. As it is, you and I have a basis for unconditional assurance. He chose to love us when we were His enemies (Colossians 1:21–22). He pursued us even when we were against Him, and He drew us to Himself.

This love will last for all eternity. Faith, hope, and love abide, but the greatest is love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Faith and hope are temporary—we will one day see God and walk by sight in the light of His glory. But love will remain.

This teaching is based on Ken’s Handbook to Scripture

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