What to make of the standards of love presented here in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7? Today I want to introduce you to some evangelical concept.
The idea is preaching God’s standards and showing the people how they fall short. The goal is that many become aware of their sinfulness.
What is good about that? Well, the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for sinners!
It is those who recognise their own shortcomings as far as God’s commandment is concerned, that can really benefit of the Lord’s sacrificial death at the cross.
Jesus is ready to forgive us our sins. That is what he died for. Yet we will only long for this benefit after recognising ourselves as being sinful.
Some preachers of old used to say: Preach the law, the standards of God until the listeners desire God’s grace. Then you can carry on proclaiming God’s love and his readiness to forgive.
Preach the law. In a sense that is what I might do when embarking into a detailed study of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. The New Testament teaches that the commandments to love God and our neighbour are central (cf. Mark 12:29-31). In these the whole law of God is fulfilled (cf. Romans 13:8-10).
I like to close this post quoting verses 4-7 from the King James Version:
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”