THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE
If there be no love to God, and no love to man, the vital element is wanting. Whatever sound we make if the Word of God is not in us, it is a sound that has no meaning, conveys no heavenly meaning. “I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” What if any of us who bear witness for Christ with our tongues should be found to be no better than this?
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. [1Cor 13:2]
Judas had, no doubt, faith in God’s miracles, but yet he was not saved. Selfishness was his ruling motive; he had no love to God or man. How this clips the wings of those lofty ones who hover on high, boasting of their knowledge and of their gifts! There are many who have few gifts —obscure and unknown — who love God much, and these are the accepted ones. Before God the balances of the sanctuary are rather turned by the shekel of love, than by any weight of talent or position.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. [1Cor 13:3]
Love is a matter of the- heart, and if the heart be not right with God, external acts, though they are very similar to the highest acts that flow from love, are of no service. God requires the heart to be right, and if that be not right, whatever cometh out of us is not acceptable in his sight.
But the greatest of these is charity (Love)! [1Cor 13:3]
It is the highest, the pinnacle. It is not the foundation — that is faith. Just as a rose in full bloom is greater than the stem that bears it, so, whilst faith is most needful, and hope most cheering, Love is the most beautiful and brightest of the three.