Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

It is Really Pretty Simple

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


The Problems

The Corinthian church had problems.  I am always encouraged when I read the letters that Paul wrote to the saints or set apart ones at Corinth.  We tend to complain about the problems in our churches today, but would you recommend a person fellowship today with a group of Christians who were getting drunk when they remembered the Lord?  I don’t think so!  But that was just one of the problems in this church that had abundant gift and ability but that was divided and that tolerated immorality in the church.  So our problems tend to pale in comparison and I realize that while the problems need to be addressed, we are not unique in our day.  I don’t suppose that should be encouraging but it is.  It is sort of like having a problem with a compulsive sin and then finding out that you are not alone.  Knowing that others also have the problem and are trying to deal with it always seems to be encouraging.


The Solution

After addressing the problems, Paul teaches that the solution is a thing called love or charity.  If they had love for God and love for one another, they certainly wouldn’t be behaving in the manner described in the letter.  Chapter 13 becomes an essay on love.  It is one of the most loved and one of the better known passages in our Bibles.  It is sort of the high point of Paul’s writings in my opinion.  In the essay, he tells us how we can do everything right, but if we do it for self instead of out of love, we are profitless as far as God is concerned.  Then he gives 15 characteristics of love.  We could truthfully put the Lord’s name in each one of those descriptive statements about love but could we put our own there?  Could the Corinthians put their names there?  At the end of the essay, he says that faith, hope and charity or love are abiding or lasting or eternal.  But the greatest of these is love.


Faith, Hope and Charity

Why should we love God and love our brothers? I think Chapter 15 gives us the motive for that love.  Chapter 15 verses 3 and 4 summarize the Gospel which is the object of our faith.  Then in chapter 15 verses 51-52 Paul encourages us with the “mystery” of the rapture where we who are saved will not all die but we will all be changed.  The coming of the Lord is our hope.  Because of that hope we should live charitably toward others.  After all the Lord loved us and gave himself for us. That is why Paul concludes the essay with the statement that now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


Petula Clark recorded a song in 1974 that summarizes what Paul has been saying.  Others recorded this song but I remember the version she sang:


What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.


Not Just for some but for Everyone

Recently my wife had surgery on her back.  It was eight hours and a big deal.  There were a few hiccups but mostly everything went well except she developed excruciating shooting pain in her right leg when she sat down or got up or twisted it just right.  After bringing her home, the pain got so bad about 9:30 one night that I called the hospital in order to talk to the doctor.  The answering service didn’t want to call him because it was after hours.  I told her that I had been told to call if we needed him and we needed him.  She said ok and in less than 5 minutes he was on the phone and told us to go to the emergency room and we would talk to the Physician’s Assistant that had been working with him on our case. When we got there he showed up as well.  It was interesting to watch the two doctors try to help Geneva.  They ordered some tests, gave her some medication and then admitted that they didn’t understand why she was having the pain.  But even though those doctors had just recently met my wife, the concern that they showed in that emergency room showed true charity that went far beyond the fact that our bills will probably bankrupt Medicare.  Our doctor is trying to do everything possible to keep from having to open her up again to see if there is something wrong that the CT scans and X-rays are not showing.  But they were examples of the kind of care and concern that we should all be showing one another. 


Yes, what the world needs now is love, sweet love.  Not just for some but for everyone.  And the real example of true love is seen in the Lord Jesus as He SUFFERED for our sins.  The Christian life is really pretty simple.  We need faith in the Lord, we need hope for the future and we need to love one another.  This meditation is reminding me not to foul up that which is so simple and so beautiful. 

Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of October 16, 2016

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