“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
~1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (NRSV).
The grandest betrayal of life is the fact of part sight this side of eternity; a limitation the Apostle Paul accepts—and even propounds—in this section of his letter to the Corinthians.
Paul is attempting to broaden the cognitive landscape of the reader. Love is beyond inadequacy and it may describe perfection at the contention of perfect life without it; this greater part of life (‘everything’, but without love) is banal, futile and uncouth. It’s forever incomplete.
The perfect life without love is worthless; yet, a naïve love powers through many tremulous situations unscathed. God’s foolishness makes a folly of human wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:25).
Looking Forward to ‘That’ Day
Paul is found pondering a day to come when perfection before Christ will be known. He’s torn between two desirable realities; he wishes to live, yet he wants to be with the Lord (Philippians 1:23-24). Life’s seen through this mirror dimly and imperfections propagating sin abound. Wherever Paul looks it’s the same. We never see face to face.
Still, there are glimpses of faith, hope and love, and in that, definable perfection. It can be attained and maintained for moments; miraculous instants—gems of grace in the realm of time.
There’s no grieving for the present condition, for it’s a thankful thing that experience is what it is—real and true with powerful shades of light breaking through bitter darkness. Where would we be without faith, hope and love?
Eternity is the realisation of perfection; all-the-time perfection... and perfection is love.
Our Presence in the Temporal Realm is Nothing to Boast About
We could be forgiven for thinking we’ve got it made; God, through Christ, having saved us. But Paul’s lament is that the true life is some way off. Today is a taste—an ‘audition’ I read recently—for the acme of eternity.
The moment we pretend that we’ve got it all in this life is the moment Satan is embellishing our minds in a lie. This realm is but a shade of the next.
The greater part of spiritual vision is recognising this gap but not to the point of getting depressed about it. It does give us more reason to ponder for eternity. It smashes the death curse, for perpetuity is coming.
Despite all the foregoing, we have the Presence of God manifest in the character of faith, hope and love—these, God’s endowment for what’s to come.
Love, now and always, is the pathway to God.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.