The Future of Love: Discovering Love's Power - Love Bible Study 13

The Future of Love: Love in Eternity – Love Bible Study #13

Pastor Duke Taber

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Introduction

As believers, we often focus on the present reality of God’s love and its transformative power in our lives. We rejoice in the truth that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39) and that we are called to love one another as Christ has loved us (John 13:34). But what about the future of love? What does the Bible tell us about the eternal nature of love and its place in our future with God?

In 1 Corinthians 13, often known as the “love chapter,” Paul gives us a glimpse into the enduring and eternal nature of love. He writes in verses 8-13:

“Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (NKJV)

In this profound passage, Paul affirms that while many aspects of our present spiritual experience are temporary and partial, love endures forever. He points us to a future reality where we will know and experience love in its fullness, in the unhindered presence of God.

In this Bible study, we will explore the eternal nature of love, the transformation of love in eternity, and the implications of this for our lives and hopes as believers. As we contemplate the future of love, may our hearts be filled with worship, anticipation, and a deeper desire to love God and others with all that we are.

The Future of Love: Love in Eternity - Love Bible Study #13

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The Eternal Nature of Love

In a world marked by change, decay, and loss, it can be difficult to grasp the concept of something that endures forever. Yet this is precisely what Paul affirms about love in 1 Corinthians 13:8: “Love never fails.” The Greek word used here, “pipto,” means to fall, fail, or come to an end. Paul is declaring that love, in contrast to other spiritual gifts and experiences, will never fall away or cease to be.

Love Is Eternal Because God Is Eternal

The eternal nature of love is rooted in the eternal nature of God Himself. As 1 John 4:8 tells us, “God is love.” Love is not merely an attribute of God, but His very essence and being. It is who He is from eternity past to eternity future, unchanging and unending.

Because God is eternal, His love is also eternal. As Jeremiah 31:3 declares, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” God’s love for His people is not a temporary or fluctuating reality, but an eternal and unshakable commitment, flowing from His very nature.

Moreover, as believers, we are drawn into the eternal love of the Trinity itself. As Jesus prays in John 17:23, “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” The love between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is an eternal, perfect, and unbreakable love, and through Christ, we are invited to participate in that love forever.

Love Endures Beyond This Life

Another reason love is eternal is that it endures beyond the boundaries of this present life. While many aspects of our earthly experience will pass away, love will continue into eternity. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Faith, the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1), will one day give way to sight, as we behold God face to face. Hope, the eager expectation of future glory and redemption, will be fulfilled in the eternal presence of God. But love, the greatest of these, will endure forever, as we love God and one another in perfect, unhindered fellowship.

This truth gives us a perspective that transcends the sorrows, separations, and endings of this life. As believers, we know that even death cannot sever the bonds of love we share with Christ and with one another. As Romans 8:38-39 assures us, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Love Is the Essence of Eternity

Finally, love is eternal because it is the very essence and reality of eternity itself. In the new heavens and new earth, where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13), love will be the defining feature and experience of our existence.

As Revelation 21:3-4 describes, “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.'”

In eternity, we will dwell in the unhindered, face-to-face presence of God, experiencing the fullness of His love in a way that we can only dimly imagine now. We will love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and we will love one another perfectly, without the barriers of sin, selfishness, or misunderstanding.

This eternal reality of love is what we were created for and what our hearts ultimately long for. It is the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose and the consummation of our redemption in Christ. As believers, we can look forward with hope and anticipation to an eternity where love reigns supreme and unending.

Reflective Questions:

  1. How does understanding the eternal nature of God’s love impact the way you view and experience His love in the present?
  2. How does the truth that love endures beyond this life bring comfort and perspective in the face of loss, separation, or death?
  3. In what ways does the promise of eternity, where love reigns supreme, stir your heart with hope and longing?

The Transformation of Love in Eternity

While love endures forever, the Bible also indicates that our experience and expression of love will be transformed in eternity. In 1 Corinthians 13:9-12, Paul speaks of a future reality where our present, partial knowledge and understanding will give way to a perfect, face-to-face knowing and being known by God.

From Partial to Perfect Knowledge

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:9-10, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” In this present age, our knowledge and understanding of God and His love is partial, limited by our finite minds and sin-tainted perspectives.

But in eternity, when we are in the unhindered presence of God, our knowledge will be made complete. We will see and understand God’s love in its fullness, without the veil of sin or the limitations of our earthly minds. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

This transformation from partial to perfect knowledge will also transform our experience and expression of love. No longer will our love be tainted by misunderstanding, selfishness, or fear. We will love God and others with a pure, unhindered love that flows from a perfect understanding of who God is and who we are in Him.

From Childish to Mature Love

Paul also speaks of a transformation from childish to mature love in 1 Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” While Paul is using this analogy to speak of the transition from the present age to eternity, it also applies to our growth in love.

In this life, our love can be immature, self-centered, and fickle. We may love others for what they can do for us or how they make us feel, rather than loving them for their inherent worth as image-bearers of God. We may struggle to love those who are different from us, who have hurt us, or who are difficult to love.

But in eternity, our love will be mature, selfless, and steadfast. We will love others as Christ loves us, with a love that is patient, kind, and keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). We will love freely and fully, without the barriers of fear, pride, or self-protection.

This transformation from childish to mature love is a process that begins in this life, as we seek to grow in the love and knowledge of Christ. As 1 John 3:2 tells us, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

From Faith and Hope to Love

Finally, Paul speaks of a future where faith and hope, though essential in this present life, will give way to the supremacy of love. As he writes in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

In eternity, faith will be replaced by sight, as we behold God face to face. Hope will be fulfilled, as we experience the fullness of our redemption and the consummation of God’s eternal purposes. But love, the greatest of these, will endure and increase forever.

This does not mean that faith and hope are unimportant or that they will cease to exist in eternity. Rather, it points to the reality that love is the ultimate goal and fulfillment of our faith and hope. As 1 Peter 1:8-9 expresses, “Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”

In eternity, our faith will be vindicated, our hope will be realized, and our love will be perfected. We will experience the fullness of God’s love for us and our love for Him and others, without the hindrances of doubt, fear, or sin. Love will be the defining reality of our eternal existence, as we dwell forever in the presence of the God who is love.

Reflective Questions:

  1. How does the promise of perfect, face-to-face knowledge of God in eternity inspire you to seek greater knowledge and understanding of Him now?
  2. In what areas of your life do you see a need for growth and maturity in love? How can you cooperate with the Spirit’s work in transforming your love?
  3. How does the truth that love is the ultimate goal and fulfillment of faith and hope shape your priorities and pursuits in this present life?

Implications for Our Lives and Hopes

The eternal nature and transformative power of love in eternity has profound implications for how we live and hope as believers in the present. It shapes our priorities, our perspective, and our pursuit of God and others.

Love as the Defining Mark of the Believer

If love is the eternal reality and essence of our future with God, then it must be the defining mark of our lives as believers in the present. As Jesus declared in John 13:35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Our love for God and others is not meant to be a peripheral or optional aspect of our faith, but the very core and essence of it. It is the evidence of our transformation in Christ and the outworking of the Spirit’s presence in our lives (Galatians 5:22).

This means that our pursuit of God and growth in Christlikeness must be anchored in love. We cannot truly know God or reflect His character apart from a deepening love for Him and others. As 1 John 4:7-8 urges us, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

Moreover, our love for others must extend beyond the boundaries of our comfort, preferences, or natural affections. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31), to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44), and to lay down our lives for one another as Christ did for us (1 John 3:16).

As we seek to embody and express the eternal love of God in our lives, we bear witness to the transformative power of the gospel and point others to the hope of eternity with God.

Love as the Lens for Eternal Perspective

The eternal nature of love also provides a lens through which we can view and navigate the challenges, sufferings, and uncertainties of this present life. When we keep the future of love in eternity in view, it changes our perspective and priorities in the present.

As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

When we face trials, losses, or disappointments in this life, we can find comfort and strength in the knowledge that the love of God endures forever and that our present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).

Moreover, when we consider the eternal future of love, it reorders our priorities and pursuits in the present. We are reminded that the things of this world—possessions, status, comforts, and even relationships—are temporary and passing away. But the love of God and the love we share with others in Christ is eternal and imperishable.

This eternal perspective frees us to love and serve others selflessly, to take risks for the sake of the gospel, and to invest our lives in that which will endure forever. As C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity, “Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’: aim at Earth and you will get neither.”

Love as the Anchor of Our Hope

Finally, the eternal future of love in God’s presence serves as the anchor and fulfillment of our deepest hopes and longings as believers. In a world marked by brokenness, suffering, and the ache of unfulfilled desire, the promise of perfect, unending love in eternity gives us a hope that steadies our souls.

As the psalmist expresses in Psalm 84:1-2, “How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God, and the hope of dwelling forever in His love is the answer to our deepest yearnings.

This hope of eternal love also empowers us to love and serve others with joy, even when it is costly or unrequited. We can love without the fear of loss or rejection, knowing that our love is secure in Christ and that it will find its ultimate fulfillment in eternity.

As the apostle John writes in 1 John 3:1-2, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

When we anchor our hope in the eternal love of God and the future He has prepared for us, we can face the uncertainties and challenges of this life with confidence, joy, and steadfast love for God and others.

Reflective Questions:

  1. How does understanding the eternal nature of love shape your priorities and pursuits as a believer in the present?
  2. In what ways can keeping the future of love in eternity in view help you navigate the challenges and sufferings of this life?
  3. How does the hope of dwelling forever in God’s love bring comfort, joy, and motivation to your life and relationships?

Conclusion

In this study, we have explored the glorious reality of the future of love in eternity. We have seen that love, as the very essence and nature of God, is eternal and enduring, transcending the boundaries of this present life and finding its ultimate fulfillment in the presence of God.

We have also considered how our experience and expression of love will be transformed in eternity, as we move from partial to perfect knowledge, from childish to mature love, and from faith and hope to the supremacy of love. This future reality of unhindered, face-to-face love with God and others is the consummation of our redemption and the answer to our deepest longings.

Moreover, we have reflected on the practical implications of this eternal perspective on love for our lives and hopes as believers. The future of love in eternity calls us to make love the defining mark of our lives in the present, to view our challenges and sufferings through the lens of eternal hope, and to anchor our souls in the unshakable love of God.

As we seek to live in light of this eternal reality, we can find comfort, strength, and motivation to love God and others with all that we are. We can face the trials and uncertainties of this life with the assurance that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus and that our present sufferings are preparing us for an eternal weight of glory.

Furthermore, the hope of eternal love empowers us to love others selflessly and sacrificially, knowing that our labor in the Lord is not in vain and that our love will find its ultimate reward and fulfillment in God’s presence. We can love without fear of loss or rejection, confident that our love is secure in Christ and that it will endure forever.

As we look forward to the future of love in eternity, may our hearts be filled with worship, longing, and renewed devotion to the God who is love. May we seek to know and reflect His love more fully in our lives, relationships, and witness to the world. And may we find our ultimate hope, joy, and satisfaction in the promise of dwelling forever in the love of God, which surpasses knowledge and fills all in all.

In the words of the apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:17-19:

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

May this be our prayer and our pursuit, as we live in the light of the eternal love of God and the glorious future He has prepared for us in Christ.

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