The Heart of Christianity
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
(1 Cor 13:1)
In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, the apostle Paul makes a startling statement. He says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” In other words, a person could be the most talented and gifted Christian in the church, the one who serves and sacrifices more than anyone, the one who gives more to the church than anyone else, but if that person does not have a genuine love for others and for the souls of others, if he truly does not desire to place himself last and set the good of others and the glory of God above his own interests and ambitions, then all his labor and sacrifice are meaningless to God. All his righteous deeds are like filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). This is because the two greatest commandments, according to Christ, are not to ‘work hard for God and work hard for others,’ but to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-39). Love is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian.
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