The Christian Graces — Love as the Root of All Good

For Paul there were basically only three Christian graces, and love was the greatest of these (1 Corinthians 13:13).  The key to understanding this analysis by Paul is seeing how the other graces flow from love.  That Paul believed this is graphically demonstrated by comparing Galatians 5:22,23 with 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

Galatians – the fruit of the Spirit is…

1 Corinthians

Love

Love…

Joy

Rejoices with the truth

Peace

Is not provoked, etc.

Patience

Is patient, endures

Kindness

Is kind

Goodness

Does not act unbecomingly

Faithfulness

Rejoices with the truth

Gentleness

Does not take into account a wrong suffered

Self-control

Does not seek its own

It is easy, perhaps, to see how love produces kindness, gentleness and peace. But love produces joy in that it enjoys seeing good come to others; produces patience in that it longs for others to do what is right and yet accepts them even if they don’t; produces goodness in that it wants to obey the loving Father’s commands and knows that being good benefits others; produces faithfulness in that others are depending on it; produces gentleness in that it doesn’t want to strike at others but help them and restore them.

Why is love greater than faith or hope?  Though faith and hope are the ground of true love and are necessary for our living on this plane of existence, yet they are graces of a temporary nature.  Faith and hope will become sight and experience in eternity (Romans 8:24; 2 Corinthians 5:7).  We will no longer need to believe in a God we cannot see.  We will no longer have to expect a perfect world.  We will be in the undeniable presence  of God and perfected in His perfect world.  Love’s essential function, however, will never cease (1 Corinthians 13:8).  It will only be enhanced by the removal of selfishness from our hearts and we will learn to love each other even better than we did in this life.

Therefore, “Follow the way of love” (1 Corinthians 14:1).  Build yourself up in your most holy faith and set your hope firmly on the kingdom to come, but pursue love with all your heart.  God is love.  To become His child is to become one who loves like He loves.  Do not consider yourself much of a Christian if you are not seeing improvement in this area all along the way.  Do not expect to see improvement if you are not engaging in people’s lives and learning from your mistakes.  The Spirit’s fruit will become evident in your life when you do.

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About thimblefulloftheology

Staff pastor of an evangelical church in Collierville TN just outside of Memphis. Married with four grown children, all married. Thrilled with life in Jesus Christ. View all posts by thimblefulloftheology

2 responses to “The Christian Graces — Love as the Root of All Good

  • henry fayol edziah

    why some men of God devoice and yet preach,council about love as a matter of fact is love a supernatural and a divine act which mankind cannot live to the fullness irrespective of the understanding,revelations and knowledge one has.thank u

  • thimblefulloftheology

    I am not sure if you are asking a question or making a comment and not sure what you are asking or commenting upon, but I have found in my own experience after nearly 40 years as a follower of Jesus Christ that I still fail in the area of loving as God loves and still have much to learn. “The love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” Paul tells us in Romans 5. It is a supernatural act of God to make me loving, and yet it is also a spiritual discipline that I must learn. There is always an interplay between the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of humans.

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