1 Corinthians 13:13
And now stays faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
I. IN THIS SINGLE WORD CHRISTIANITY SUMS UP ALL SOCIAL MORALITY. There is no analogy to this in any other religion or philosophy. Did Greece or Rome, Egypt or Assyria, ever rear an altar to such a goddess? And who looks for any acknowledgment of her from heathenism now? And the vaunted philanthropy of socialistic philosophy, with all other modern substitutes for the gospel, is but a caricature of the Christian principle.
II. HOW STRONGLY DOES THIS STANDARD OF CHARACTER CONTRAST WITH THAT OF THE WORLD! Who is the man that the age delighteth to honour? Is it the gentle, loving disciple of Jesus? Nay, is it not the proud, selfish, and ambitious?
III. HIS ACCOUNT OF CHARITY SHEDS A REPROVING LIGHT UPON NATIONAL ANTIPATHIES AND WAR. Why should the geographical and political divisions of the globe sever the bonds of human brotherhood and limit the sphere of Christian benevolence? Can Christ's followers be murderers? and what is war but wholesale murder?
IV. HOW SEVERELY DOES CHARITY CONDEMN THE BIGOTRY OF SECTARIAN PREJUDICE AND THE BITTERNESS OF RELIGIOUS CONTROVERSY! Why should some difference of opinion in matters not fundamental alienate from one another hearts that were else one in Christ? If we differ in many things, do we not agree in more? and are not those in which we agree much more important than those in which we differ?
V. IN THE LIGHT OF OUR EXPOSITION, HOW ARE WE TO ESTIMATE THE GUILT OF THOSE WHO CAUSE RUINOUS DIVISIONS IN THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH? If it is so good and pleasant a thing for brethren to dwell together in unity, who shall measure the mischief done by breaking up the family? If charity is the bond of perfectness, the test of Christian character, the best recommendation of the gospel, and the condemnation of a discordant world, what words shall suffice to express the repugnance of every true disciple to that wicked schismatical spirit which often wounds it so recklessly or murders it outright?
(J. Cross, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.