the perfect comes

I just about fell out of my chair one time when I read the words from 1 Corinthians 13. Normally you think of that as the love chapter. Love is patient, love is kind. I was so completely happy that I had to tell my husband about it, after all these years of tripping over non-perfect.

perfect:

  1. having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.
  2. absolute; complete

People use the word “perfect” a lot, particularly when talking about all we’re not. “He’s definitely not perfect, but”…”Our marriage isn’t perfect”…”I’m not perfect either” …”Nobody’s perfect”…I say it too, but sometimes I get so annoyed with that word. Like, duh, this is a sinful world.

As in, why are we even comparing anything to perfect, as if perfect were a standard we could actually reach or even come remotely close to reaching? Even with Jesus we still aren’t perfect, having to live in mortal bodies in a fallen world as sinful people. Perfect is gone, and it ain’t coming back.

Or is it?

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be restrained; where there is knowledge, it will be dismissed. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial passes away (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).”

I don’t completely get or understand what that means, but it says right there, “when the perfect comes”, as if “perfect” coming is a sure and certain thing. What a difference this makes, that perfect is not some vain and throw-away vocabulary word. Hope is not lost. Perfect is something we’re waiting for.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment (1 John 4:18). It (love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7). In perfect love it’s not about me anymore!

~~~

“In this way, love has been perfected among us, so that we may have confidence on the day of judgment; for in this world we are just like Him.”
~1 John 4:17~

One thought on “the perfect comes

  1. Another nice thing here is that the Greek word for this (teleios) also has the sense of completed, pointing to God’s good work being done on us, to be completed in God’s time.

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