“Even when belief in a loved one’s goodness or repentance is shattered, love still hopes. When it runs out of faith it holds on to hope. As long as God’s grace is operative human failure is never final. God would not take Israel’s failure as final. Jesus would not take Peter’s failure as final. Paul would not take the Corinthians’ failure as final. There are more than enough promises in the Bible to make love hopeful.
The parents of backslidden children, the spouse of an unbelieving marriage partner, the church that has disciplined members who do not repent—all hope in love that the child, the spouse, or the erring brother or sister will be saved or restored. Love refuses to take failure as final. The rope of love’s hope has no end. As long as there is life, love does not lose hope. When our hope becomes weak, we know our love has become weak.
I heard the story of a dog who stayed at the airport of a large city for over five years waiting for his master to return. Employees and others fed the dog and took care of him, but he would not leave the spot where he last saw his master. He would not give up hope that someday they would be reunited. If a dog’s love for his master can produce that kind of hope, how much longer should our love make hope last?
John F. MacArthur, Jr., 1 Corinthians, MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 354-55 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1984).