love never ends

Posted: March 17th, 2011 | Filed under: life | Tags: | 16 Comments »

Love never ends. -1 Corinthians 13:8 ESV

Love in 1 Corinthians 13 is talking about the ‘agape’ kind. The ultimate act of self-sacrifice. This makes sense when you know that God is Love  (1 John 4:7-8) and the greatest expression of love is to lay your life down for your friends (John 15:13). That makes Jesus God’s greatest expression of Himself. That’s why love wins and that’s how you know who is born of God (John 13:35). Love is also how you keep God’s commands (Romans 13:8). Anyone who doesn’t love is dead (1 John 3:14).

Love wins on every level. It’s not emotionalism, it’s a huge statement rich with implications. It’s also the hardest thing to do because it’s self-sacrifice. This is why some can oppose it strongly and dismiss it as sentimental hog wash. Then, if you think about the prodigal son identifying himself with the hogs…well the Truth about love just doesn’t stop does it?

As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. – 1 Corinthians 13:8 ESV

These things are here by the Spirit, the Spirit speaking to people. But people are flawed and they do not fully understand everything, but they think, question, study and end up just having to trust that God is God and Jesus is His Son and He died for our sins so that we do not have to die in them.  We can be and are forgiven. We are made holy, pure, righteous, and set right with God because of Jesus. God knows and understands us, even though we do not completely understand God. The prophecies, tongues, and knowledge that we have right now will pass away because there is more to come that we do not know. Everything we think we know is only in part.

If you think that the story of love is void of justice, then you’ve lost sight of Jesus on the cross. Wasn’t that the purpose of Jesus’ self-sacrifice? Jesus’ sacrifice has not lost it’s power.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part,… – 1 Corinthians 13:9 ESV

All of the knowledge, which is only a portion of the truth, can make people bloated with pride and end up tearing someone else down. The only thing that builds someone up is Love. In all that we think we know, we don’t know enough to tear someone else down.

…we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.  If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. – 1 Corinthians 8:1-2 ESV

When Jesus returns, we will know everything. Everything we know right now, all the things we’ve tried to figure out and made determinations about, is only part of the story. If life were a movie, we’re only partially into the movie. We don’t know everything, but we know up until this point. At the end, we’ll know the whole story.

but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. – 1 Corinthians 13:10 ESV

The way you can understand this is to remember what your understanding of life was like when you were a child. Everything revolved around you, reality was filtered through your understanding. If it didn’t make sense, you would make sense of it based on what you knew up to that point. When you grew up, you learned more and what you thought you knew as a child didn’t exist anymore. For example, I thought that men gave birth to boys and women gave birth to girls. I got older and realized that women are the only ones who were able to have babies. Then, I thought that the mother had the upside down bowl of her bulging stomach cut off, set aside, the baby removed, and the upside down, deflated bowl sewn back on. I am older now and that knowledge I once was sure of has passed away. I knew part of the truth, but I didn’t know all of it. I made sense of things based on my understanding at the time. Anyone could have argued with me based on their understanding, but it all is reduced to a bunch of kids arguing with the tools of partial knowledge and the desire to be the one who is right.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. – 1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV

We don’t know everything right now. We’re still learning. When Jesus comes, we will know it all and be finished learning. God knows you completely, but you do not completely understand Him.

“Instead of claiming to know what God says, ask questions of one another, such as ‘How do we understand God in this?’ But don’t go around pretending to know it all, saying ‘God told me this…God told me that….’ I don’t want to hear it anymore…You can ask the prophets, ‘How did God answer you? What did he tell you?’ But don’t pretend that you know all the answers yourselves and talk like you know it all.” – God through Jeremiah 23:35-38

“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.”

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. – 1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV

So, right now, with our partial understanding and our incomplete knowledge, the only thing we can be absolutely certain of is that God is the only God. Jesus is His son, and through Him we have forgiveness, grace, mercy, love, and eternal life. Since we don’t know everything, and in order to not let pride destroy people you know nothing about, the only thing you can do to always be right is have faith in the finished work of Jesus. Let that be your hope for yourself and for others and use that faith and hope to love them. The greatest is Love.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV

Cultivate a life in common. Fight to get along, not to be right. Build each other up, don’t tear them down. We all are in this together. Do the best you can and leave your ego behind. If fear and self-rightiousness is motivating you, you’re going to be wrong. Let love be your guide. It’s the only way to get it right. Be patient. There is always doubt. Try giving the benefit instead of taking it away. Be kind to people. Love them. Stand up for them because not all the evidence is in yet.

So don’t get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in. When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of—inner motives and purposes and prayers. Only then will any one of us get to hear the “Well done!” of God. -1 Corinthians 4:5



16 Comments on “love never ends”

  1. 1 eileen said at 5:09 am on March 18th, 2011:

    Your post reminded me of an Elisabeth Elliot quote, "Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now."

    You are right, we only see a portion of the movie right now. We need to trust that God will reveal what we need to know…when we need to know it. But, I am really looking forward to that DAY when He makes all things completely clear!!

  2. 2 Brooke Luby said at 5:34 am on March 18th, 2011:

    Beautiful. Once again, you expressed life giving truth.

  3. 3 Serena Woods said at 5:38 am on March 18th, 2011:

    Thanks, ladies. 🙂

  4. 4 ImaAnon said at 7:00 am on March 18th, 2011:

    This is thought provoking and smart. I'm wondering, what is your take on the conversation surrounding Rob Bell?

  5. 5 Julie said at 10:02 am on March 18th, 2011:

    Thank you for all you do to spread the word about grace…

  6. 6 Serena Woods said at 11:30 am on March 18th, 2011:

    ImaAnon: Thanks. 🙂

    I think my blog answers your question.

    Julie: Thank you. 🙂

  7. 7 Julie R. said at 2:29 pm on March 18th, 2011:

    Last week I had wondered about how to deal with people who would demand more "payment" for sin than what had already been paid by the 'perpetrator'… and then I am reading your post tonight… and while I KNOW this information I am receiving it into my spirit in a new way…

    "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow"

    Thank you Serena, for your words of wisdom.

  8. 8 Serena Woods said at 2:34 pm on March 18th, 2011:

    I love that song. 🙂

  9. 9 Sisterlisa said at 8:56 am on March 19th, 2011:

    Serena…thank you. Thank you for giving people some breathing room to keep exploring and for the encouragement to keep the love flowing in the process. ((hugs))

  10. 10 Joyce said at 8:40 pm on March 19th, 2011:

    Thoughtful, thorough, solid "truth, in love" from God's word. Thank you for keeping us focused on the main thing.

  11. 11 Autumn said at 3:27 am on March 23rd, 2011:

    So because "Love Wins on every level" discerning christians should just stand by and watch a man COMPLETELY trample on the truths of scripture….we should listen patiently while he disregards Christ's incredible sacrifice as inconsequential…?? Because we don't know what all of his thoughts are and "Love wins"….???


    You are correct that we only see in part….God has not revealed all to us…..but He HAS given us His word and it is CLEAR….

    Romans 16: 17-18…… I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

    Colossians 2:8…..

    See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

    Everything Rob Bell is saying in his new book is contrary to the SOLID word of God! It is very pleasing to wordly ears……

    We need to do as Jude urges…..

    Jude 1:3…… Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

  12. 12 Serena Woods said at 7:14 am on March 23rd, 2011:


    I am overwhelmed with kindness and the kind of patient love for you that I learned by God's example in His dealings with me. All the while I do not understand why you hold disdain for me yet still read what I have to say. I can only give you the benefit of the doubt and believe that you want, with everything in you, to be a 'good' Christian.

    I am not sure why you are bringing up a book that I never mentioned nor have I read. Your entire comment is in response to something that I have not formed thoughts about and have not spoken about, therefore it makes your fight against something that has nothing to do with me. What, within in you, are you fighting? What is hurting you? I have to wonder why you are bringing your fight here. You even pretend that you are a separate person named Rebecca when you post something especially venomous. What draws you here? Maybe you need to know that you are loved. You are accepted. You are His precious little girl. He calls you Beloved. And… you are my sister. Destined to one day be friends in a Kingdom where we just might be neighbors. I can only hope for and choose to believe that. It helps keep my heart soft and open to you.

    I will address the scriptures you quoted:

    When you look up Romans 16, it's talking about avoiding people who cause divisions and create obstacles. When I talk about love and you come in with strong opposition, what do you think that is? Are you representing division? Are you creating obstacles? Obstacles to what? The cross-reference scripture leads to this one:

    The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. -1 Timothy 1:5-7

    Obstacles to Love. Divisions over the law of Love.

    By 'swerving' from Love, 'certain persons' wander off into vain discussions about the law. They do not understand what they're saying or what they are standing up for. We're told to avoid them. Of all the people we think we should avoid, scripture actually says to avoid people who wander off from Love and assert the law.

    When you read further into Colossians 2, you can find what 'traditions' or 'elemental spirits of the world' is referring to:

    If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. -Colossians 2:20-23

    side note: "asceticism" means: "the practice of severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons"

    In Christ, you died to 'legalism' (the elemental spirits of the world) and have to avoid those 'human precepts and teachings.' Why? Because your best is not good enough. Religion can't save you. It has no value.

    side note: "precepts" means: "a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought"

    You said: "Everything Rob Bell is saying in his new book is contrary to the SOLID word of God! It is very pleasing to wordly ears……"

    Have you read it? Surely you wouldn't speak so boldly against something you haven't read. Surely you wouldn't be basing all of your opinions and beliefs, on what others say.

    What if the Holy Spirit is using his message to reach people? What if the Spirit of God is speaking to people through the message of love? I haven't read the book, so these are just "what if's". Again, what if the Holy Spirit is using Rob Bell's book? What does that say about all of those who are mocking it, rebuking it, and saying it's from the devil?

    When you reject the Holy Spirit and accredit his actions with evil, isn't that blasphemy?

    You mentioned Jude 1, did you read a bit further?

    But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. -Jude 1:10

    The people that Jude is talking about are those who pervert the grace of God by making it something that must be earned by keeping a set of rules. It doesn't mean that a person can live selfishly, it means that they cannot earn grace. The cross-reference scripture for the verse following the one you quoted (the cross-reference for Jude 1:4) is Act 11:23 where Peter sees the grace of God, is glad about it, and tells the church to 'remain steadfast'. 'Steadfast is understood with the cross-reference scripture found in 2 Timothy 3.

    You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, – 2 Timothy 3:10

    Steadfast in Love (and faith and patience). Those who preach grace and love have always been 'persecuted' (1 Timothy 3:11) but Peter, Paul, Jesus, me, and any other worker/disciple of Jesus must endure and remain committed.

    side note: "steadfast" means: "resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering"

  13. 13 autumn said at 7:47 am on March 23rd, 2011:

    Serena….you were asked directly about th Rob Bell situation and you said THIS post answered your feelings……which means you are giving him the benefit of the doubt!

    I believe in calling heretics what they are….. I have read enough portions of the book and have heard Rob Bell's own words! He is a universalist and a heretic….He makes Christ's sacrifice in vain……

    I continue to read occasionally here because I am praying that you will see the great influence you have and how you are misusing it…. I have no disdain for you….I pity you……. I see you as distorting the gospel and profiting from it……I will no longer read however….you have a very inflated view of yourself and your own interpretations of scripture…..I think you seriously need to have a studied man of God evaluate your teachings!

    We cannot be lukewarm….we cannot comopromise the truth of God's righteous judgement in the name of love and understanding….we cannopt change the Lord into something that pleases man….He will spit us out! We are either hot or cold!

    BTW….. I was not pretending to be someone else….if I had been doing that wouldn't I have used a different e-mail?? Obviously you see the adresses….that is my middle name….I post under both occasionally…… but it doesn't surprise me that you would be petty and demean me publicly…..that is what cornered people do! That post wasn't venomous it was truthful!

  14. 14 autumn said at 7:53 am on March 23rd, 2011:

    oh…and the reason I post under my middle name sometimes is I have had a couple of instances where other commenters have tracked me down on FB (based on our mutual blog likes and my unusual name) and HARRASSED me……yes, supposedly christian people….to the point where I nearly deleted my account!

    So…please….maybe next time you could try to think there may be a reason before you call someone out….. as I said…you obviously knew!

  15. 15 Serena Woods said at 8:06 am on March 23rd, 2011:

    Autumn: Actually, I didn't know until the 14th. When people want to post anonymously, it is either because they want to discuss things and they don't want their personal friends to know their identity or they want to say something mean to me, personally, and they don't want me to know which regular commenter they are.

    I am sorry you have been harassed by others. There is no excuse for name calling, sin listing, or accusations. Right? It's a terrible thing to do in the name of God. You must know that I know how that feels.

  16. 16 Jason said at 10:17 am on March 23rd, 2011:

    Out of curiosity Serena, and please do not take this as a personal attack as it is not, the whole premise of this blog post was to explain how we need to defer to love because we can't see the whole picture right now correct? So we are to assume that our knowledge on any specific subject is not complete, which I completely agree with. However, aren't you asserting that you have the final answer on what love looks like to God? Surely you can't be saying that we have not final answers except for the one that you are giving us? How are we to know what love looks like to God based on limited knowledge in an unfinished movie? Just food for thought.

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