Love of the Saints1 Peter 4:8
1 Peter 4:8
8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
There is perhaps no word in all of the English language that encompasses such a wide array of thoughts, ideas and responses as the word “love”. I am sure each one of us have used this word to express and describe how we feel concerning the Lord and our gratefulness for His incredible gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. We have also used this word to describe our feelings for our wives, children and family members. I am also quite certain that many, if not all of us have used the word “love” to describe how we feel about a pet, a sport or a favorite food! When we examine our uses of this word, it also becomes clear that there may be no word in the English language that is used so carelessly and inappropriately as this one word as well!
Very recently I and many of you have used this word to describe how we feel towards each other…our fellow saints and brethren in the Lord. There is no question that love for the brethren is an absolutely necessary and beautiful response and expression of the Christian. Actually, one of the marks of a true believer is that they will have a deep love for God’s people (1 John 3:14). As I write this it is very easy for me to think of each one of you and say without shame or embarrassment that I love you. But while saying that I love you is easy, often showing you that I love you can be difficult. Each one of us has a responsibility to love one another not only in word but also in deed.
Peter reminds us that “…love covers a multitude of sin”. This is a very familiar verse to many of us, but how many of us both know what it means and put into practice the principles of this statement? If our love for each other is to be proper and complete, we must both know and practice this type of fervent love that is a covering for the sins of others.
Each one of us comes from a past that is marred by sin and various forms of depravity. The love that we must have for each other is a love that looks past those multitudes of sin and keeps no record. A fervent love that covers a multitude of sin is a love that knows no sin that has been committed that is unforgivable. It knows no sin that is so repulsive that we would disown each other if we were to find out. This love we are to have for each other does not mean that we are to cordially tolerate one another, but rather practice a growing and desperate love for each other! Think of your past, perhaps your past before Christ. How many of you look back and think, “if these people knew this about me, they would disown me!” May it never be! If we are indeed Christian we will look past those sins and not hold them against each other. We will not seek to aggravate those past failures, but we will remember them no more! Our love will look past them, cover them and they we will not change our opinions, thoughts or love concerning one another. We will look at each other as fellow sinners, redeemed by Christ. When I look at each of you I do not see fornicators, liars and thieves, I see God’s beautiful church! Every one of us have been guilty of many evils, but every one of us have also been forgiven by the blood of Christ! Amen!
It is not enough for the Christian to simply bear with each other out of a loathsome responsibility to God’s command, we must love each other so much that bearing with each other becomes an expression of our love for God and each other. Each one of us have been given, by Christ, the capacity to minister to one another with a special care and enjoyment. My prayer is that we each grow in our hospitality to one another, our service to one another, our encouragement of one another and our grace to one another. Freely we have been forgiven, freely we also must forgive! We are not to look past sin and condone one another’s continued sin, however we must love each other enough to forgive and remember those sins no more.
Yours in Christ,