Saturday, 3 January 2015
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, but have not love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2
In continuance of the previous thought concerning tongues, Paul now moves to the gift of prophecy. This was esteemed as a higher gift than tongues by him in 1 Corinthians 12:27. He notes here that if he possesses this gift which would allow him to “understand all mysteries and all knowledge” there would still be a lack without love.
The term “mysteries” refers to that which was once unknown, but which has been revealed by God at the right time to continue to make known His plan of redemption. It is not specifically referring to predictions of things which will occur in the future, but rather to the revealing of anything that has or may occur and how that information fits into redemptive history. This idea is found in Deuteronomy 29:29 –
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Possessing such knowledge, or being able to discern such knowledge from His word, is not an end in and of itself. It is simply a gift like any other which needs to be accompanied by love. An example of this might be a very scholarly seminary professor. He understands the biblical languages and has great insights into the many patterns of Scripture which point to God’s revealed plans. But if he doesn’t truly love God or his word, all of his knowledge is ultimately futile. In the end, his temporary knowledge will be consumed by the march of time.
Paul continues with the thought that “though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” This isn’t speaking of “saving faith” but rather the faith that “I can do all things.” This is evidenced by the words “so that I could remove mountains.”
As an example, a person may have great confidence that he can start a church, build it to a very successful ministry, work through all of the bureaucracy of building a large sanctuary, organize worship teams, pastoral teams, etc., so that he has the biggest ministry in town. Such a person is self-confident of his abilities and can “remove mountains.” However, if he is doing it for self-aggrandizement or to simply get wealthy, all of his efforts are in vain. In the end, he will be no closer to true life than a pagan who worships in an idol’s temple.
Life application: Great human achievement or possessing great wealth is not a sound indication of a great person. True greatness comes from a love for God, a love for the church of God’s people, a heart for God’s word, and a desire to glorify God in every aspect of life.
Lord God, if my life is one of great success and immense wealth, what good will it do me when my days are finished? I will return to the same dust that the poor beggar returns to. The only thing that will matter on that day is what I did for You? Was I obedient to Your word, did I receive the Gift of Your Son, and did I honor and glorify You with this life by my actions towards others? I know that at my life’s end, these are the things which will be remembered. Help me to keep my life in the proper perspective so that when I stand before You, I will receive Your welcome call, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Amen.