Knowledge Puffs Up, But Love Builds Up

New JerusalemFirst Corinthians 8:1b makes a clear distinction between knowledge and love, saying, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” This love originates from God (1 John 4) and, as regenerated people, we love not with our natural love but with the love of God which is in us (4:16).

The knowledge in 1 Corinthians 8 is natural. It may come from our education, upbringing, or society, or it may be self-generated ideas and conclusions. All such knowledge (in contrast to that which proceeds from the Lord’s shining into us) is soulish and not of the Spirit. That is why it cannot build up.

God’s love is in not soulish but spiritual, and is intimately related to God’s life. When we supply God’s love and God’s life to other Christians, we build up the Body of Christ. This is the New Testament building work. Ephesians 4:16 says our growth in Christ “causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.” Jude 20-21 says,

You, beloved, building up yourselves upon your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Here the mutual building up of the believers, praying in the Spirit, and the love of God are tied together. These three aspects of our Christian life all bring us toward the second coming of the Lord Jesus. That time will be the greatest mercy to us and a time when we will enter a fuller experience of eternal life than we have today.

The Lord’s second coming with His mercy and the fullness of eternal life, plus His reigning and many other blessings, will bring us further onward toward New Jerusalem. Let us echo Revelation 22:20, “Come, Lord Jesus!

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

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  1. In Christ Jesus We Are Being Built Together | New Jerusalem – A Biblical View

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