And The Tables Turn

I run through the verses in 1Co 13 just to examine a point. I would expect God (as a Spirit), to not examine everything from a purely positive aesthetic value which in us leads to the dialectic and the "knowledge of good and evil" as we judge what is positive for ourselves; instead, I would expect good and evil to be judged by God on standards that are perfect and forever just. That is surely not so easy if one attributes the quality of pleasure to what is right and its lack to what is wrong simply on how it "feels" and the dopamine rush that we as animals feel in judging it for ourselves.

I would then consider that righteous charity is to do the word of a perfect God without a commandment to do it.

I would also, then, consider that such a rational choice judging the greatest benefit for the many (such as a perfect work) is a possible thing to judge in all charity, and also on an occasion whether a person is moved with compassion or not - but may be so instead by a sense of duty - may produce equal amounts of charity as the result: I.e. if someone does something for their brother because they are emotionally moved or whether they simply see a sense of Christian duty, there is no difference! Both as love are actually as agape (and not as "eros" or "phileo").

So, consider the verses

1Co 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
1Co 13:2 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, and have not charity, I am nothing.
1Co 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (KJV)

Here we read that every extreme act of throwing oneself in harms way without charity is not "pointless" - it is impossible.

How did I reach that statement? Besides Paul's description of agape as follows...

1Co 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
1Co 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
1Co 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
1Co 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (KJV)

Paul is not leading to any distinction that those that throw themselves in "where angels fear to tread" have no sense of "charity" if they are not motivated by an emotional "agape" love; rather the effort of this Paul's emphasis, is that every such act is motivated by charity; for if these are excluded altogether, then there is no act. These are likened to childish ways for believers to see such martyrdom: for the weak in faith actually expect great gifts of love for the like beforehand and they, as a consequence, afterward feel inferior - and this is never the case in God's eyes, is it?

1Co 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
1Co 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
1Co 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. (KJV)

Now, when a fellowship is of "mixed" believers and gifts cannot be completely exercised, ministration is not "complete": just as it would be towards those that are certainly not in Christ: for then spiritual gifts "vanish away". We do not exercise God's gifts for all comers. When a fellowship is complete (perfect) with the elect, gifts are also exercised complete, and these gifts will not vanish away. (I.e. work to complete that fellowship!)

I.e., we do not know the extent of God's charity at work: but when we put away our paradigm that we have of being led as children, and begin to lead with love as adults, these things are always forefront in our minds (or should be) when we think as adults and care for the Lord's flock (or should to a bishop anyway, which I am certainly not).

1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (KJV)

And after all that, a change of paradigm is not to be dismissed, for there is nothing to fear in a charitable act or even martyrdom (they are not wasted efforts). These things are not done without charity, for as it is with the emotions that may move one to such charity, all charity being removed leaves but an impossible act (as without a cause) as no one lays down their life for their friends in Christ without faith, hope and charity. These things will always remain in such an one that considers it. The one of the three that will always remain foremost is charity (which is the greatest).

Besides, a fellowship incomplete or partly not elect is like the elect mixing with those that are seen as if they were a mere "image" or reflection of a person (and a Christian), if they are not exercising God's spiritual gifts; for they are not known as truly elect (as is Paul) for exercising God's spiritual gifts. Then to exercise charity to build up a fellowship (from the inside out) is to make the body complete through that charity: when "they" (the "incomplete") are accepted with gifts exercised of themselves, an elect is then to be recognised and fully known as such. (Therefore covet the best gifts!)

Paul wrote that not only do the elect fail to minister with (some) gifts to the non-convert, but the non-convert cannot minister in like manner with spiritual gifts to the elect. When this impasse ceases, the elect see each other "face to face".

1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (KJV)

So, whilst a believer may (as child-like in faith) consider their Christian love too shallow to become a martyr for their brethren, they, as a Christian remain faithful to Christ and also hope in Him and they always have such charity. It is no difficulty for them to consider whether an act is charitable when one is not emotionally attached. Instead, a rational choice to do what is right is no different that a compassionate one. Both, are acts of the same God that we do only in part: when we know that, we see ourselves acting as instruments of faith, hope and charity - but the greatest motive is charity even when we don't feel such an emotion. We are (foremost), instruments of God's charity and not only vessels for love.

So, to sum up: if you strip all human emotion from of an act of virtue for a good work, there abides (remains) three reasons for such a work; faith, hope and charity - every such work is just that in itself and it is nothing to worry over (and there are spiritual gifts for the exercise of all that!) It is also not possible to judge a believer's paradigm and whether they have spiritual gifts or not, on the basis of their visible emotions (a childish paradigm?) or indeed, the lack of any emotion: they are instruments as much as anyone else. They, may be "new" but every bit the believer with a gift!

The "more excellent way" is then to introduce an emotionless foundation for the charitable practice of spiritual gifts through moral Christian duty - for then if we also love the brethren (over and above that dutiful requirement), we will certainly exceed all expectations in using all God's gifts!

Return To Section Start

Return To Previous Page