It is written:
1 Corinthians 13:6-(Love)…does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth
Pauli joins together these two characteristics in an interesting contrast that is drawn from the Greek Old Testament.
Deuteronomy 32:4-He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.
Malachi 2:6-The law of truth was in his mouth, And injustice was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and equity, And turned many away from iniquity.
The passage from Deuteronomy is a description of the Nature of God. He is a God Who cannot and will not abide evil and wickedness. Instead, He is a God Who rejoices in truth and kindness.
Jeremiah 9:24-But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.
The passage from Malachi is a description of the priests in Israel, many of whom had departed from God. God had designed the priesthood so that His priests (the ones who were His mediators in the world of man) would be those who had His law in their hearts so that they taught it in love.
Many in the church of God at Corinth had forgotten this. There were some members who were delighting in what God’s Word had clearly described as evil. For example, think of the abuses of the Lord’s Supper:
1 Corinthians 11:19-22-For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.
Paul here was not condemning the Christians for eating in a church building (as some Christians mistakenly teach and go so far as to claim that it is a sin to eat in a church building). The Corinthians did not have church buildings! Instead, these members were meeting for worship service at each other’s homes. What should have been a great example of lovingkindness and hospitality was turned into party division as the rich members of the church behaved in such a way that they denigrated the poor members of the church.
Consider another example. In 1 Corinthians 5, Pauli talks about a member of the church who was publicly known to be having sexual relations with his father’s wife (most likely his stepmother). This was known in the church, but the church did not care that such sin was being publicly committed and condoned.
Our brothers and sisters in Corinth were doing the exact opposite of what this passage says: they were “rejoicing in iniquity, and not rejoicing in truth.”
The Christians should have known that true love encourages a person to turn from evil and to love and practice what God teaches-even what that is difficult.
What an important lesson for those in our day and age who would claim that if we truly love people, we will celebrate and encourage them in their sin.
If we truly love our neighbors, we will encourage them to flee from sin and to commit their lives to Jesus Christ.
As Gardner has pointed out:
“The one who rejoices at the truth is the one who sees God at work in and through people and sees God being honored and obeyed. Such a person rejoices in the proclamation of even that which is a ‘stumbling block’ to some and ‘folly’ to others because it is true (1:23). Such a person will not even reject criticism if deserved because it is true (Galatians 4:16). This leads to great rejoicing.” (Paul Gardner & Clinton Arnold, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary On The New Testament: 1 Corinthians, 572 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.