As we take another look at the idea of Love from the perspective of Scripture we need to consider that Love is a verb. Not like the old plaques and figurines we remember from the 70’s that always said, “love is….” Love is more than “is” as we see in 1 Corinthians 13, LOVE DOES. It is not just a verb, but an action verb. It is not just feeling or sentiment, but an act on behalf of the beloved.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.
Last time we considered what love does not do “love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;” This time we consider what it does.
1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love suffers long and is kind;“ It remains kind even when it is provoked or offended. Kindness is good, but kindness in the midst of persecution or trial is powerful. The testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ is replete with instances of this kind of behavior. Just a perusal of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs will give you some evidence of this attitude in the early Church. Patient suffering with kindness is commended repeatedly in 1 Peter 3-5 and is a foundational aspect of those who have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sins.
1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “LOVE WILL COVER A MULTITUDE OF SINS.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. …. 12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
If we begin to understand that God’s great patience with us in our sins and rebellion is the basis our our patience and kindness toward our offending brother or sister or neighbor, it will certainly help us to see it in the proper light. 1 Peter 3:8-9 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” And so it becomes a matter of faith to respond to offenses with a blessing rather than returning evil for evil. That is what Christ has done for those who have believed the Gospel. We did not deserve it. We lived a life contrary to the Love of God and yet in His patience and kindness He allowed us to live in our sin until such a time as we came to faith and forgiveness. Aren’t you glad that He did not immediately send us to Hell at our first or second offense?
2 Peter 3:14-15 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—
Where would we be without His patience with us and His kindness toward us?
1 Corinthians 13:7 [Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails….
Bears all things – That is it covers the sins of others rather than publishing them to the world as it continues in patient kindness.
Believes all things – That is it does not always suspect the worst but presumes its beloved innocent until proven guilty.
Hopes all things – That is it looks for a good outcome and does not expect the worst in the situation.
Endures all things – It continues to bear, believe and hope, looking for the opportunity to restore what is broken, just as Christ did with us who believe.
Love never fails! – It will not run out. As long as there are relationships there will be love, even in eternity.
John Calvin remarks on this section – “By all these statements he intimates, that love is neither impatient nor spiteful. For to bear and endure all things is the part of forbearance to believe and hope all things is the part of candor and kindness. As we are naturally too much devoted to self, this vice renders us sour and fretful. The effect is, that every one wishes that others should carry him upon their shoulders, but refuses for his part to assist others. The remedy for this disease is love, which makes us subject to our brethren, and teaches us to apply our shoulders to their burdens. (Galatians 6:2.) Farther, as we are naturally spiteful, we are, consequently, suspicious too, and take almost everything amiss. Love, on the other hand, calls us back to kindness, so that we think favorably and fairly of our neighbors.”
And so love is not a fickle thing that depends upon the actions and attitudes of others. On the contrary, Love continues in spite of these things. Sometimes we have to set aside our emotions in order to love properly. God has commanded us to do so and to trust in His sovereign hand in all situations. He has promised us as we saw in 1 Peter 3:9 that He brings these situations to us in order for us to “inherit a blessing.” What would happen if the next time that someone offended you, you brought this verse to mind and trusted in God to keep His Word? What would happen to you and to that relationship?
You can listen to audio of this message as well as our evening study from John 21 on Confrontation in Love by clicking on the links below.
Love Does – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love’s Confrontation – John 21:1-17