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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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1Jn 2:7-8 The Old New Commandment

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The Old New Commandment

 

1Jn 2:7-8 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.

 

The commandment he is alluding to is of course John 13:34 where Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." Those who love fellow believers show themselves to be enlightened.

 

As for the "true light", John speaks of that elsewhere in John 1:9 saying, "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world." He's referring to Jesus. And Paul writes, "God, who said, Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." 2Cor 4:6

 

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