What Does 1 Peter 4:8 Mean?

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

The warm gentleness and tender-hearted forgiveness in Paul's chapter on love, in 1 Corinthians 13, identifies LOVE as the foundational fruit of the Spirit, from which all other gifts and graces grow. Love is also a gift of the Spirit because it is only as we abide in Him and He in us, that we can love as Christ loved, as we allow the love of Christ to flow through us to others. Here, in Peter's first epistle, we find another important teaching on love, which is condensed into one tiny verse by the big, Galilean 'fisher-of-men.' "Above all things,"  Peter writes, "have fervent love among yourselves: for love shall cover a multitude of sins." 

Peter was a man who had a fervent love of his Lord, and the elderly apostle encourages us to let love be a dominant theme in all our lives. Peter also knew the amazing grace and perfect peace that comes when sins are covered. He knew the liberating joy that floods the soul when sins are covered by Christ, the lover of our soul.

Peter had been deeply impacted by Christ's unconditional love toward him. He had first-hand experience of receiving Christ's divine love, through the covering of his own sins. No doubt he often recalled that day when the One, Whom he loved so dearly, yet had so blatantly denied with a curse, entrusted him with the great commission to, "feed My sheep", and "feed my little lambs."

No wonder Peter emphasised the need for us all to have a deep, heartfelt and intense love for our Lord, and a similarly deep, impassioned, fervent love for one another. Does not He Who loved us so deeply, even to the point of death on the cross, demand that we display unselfish love towards others? Is He not worthy to receive the same depth of love that He showed towards us when we were dead in sin and at enmity with God, a sacrificial love, a dedicated love, a complete, unselfish, and holy love?

Should not we who have received such a depth of love and forgiveness from our precious Saviour, not show forth His love to others? "Love one another as I have loved you," was the command Christ gave to the Church. Should not our love for one another reflect that pure, selfless love that the Lord Jesus demonstrated toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us?

Such love does not wink at sin, nor does it translate imperfections into destructive criticism, but is gracious toward the faults of others and patient with their defects. Such love applauds the good qualities they find in others while speaking the truth in love. They encourage others in their Christian walk. They forgive past offenses. They understand their foibles and are wisely insensible of their errors.

Peter knew that God is love. He understood that he who dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him. No surprise that Peter exhorts us, "above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins." When the love of God through Christ, abounds in our hearts, then the offenses of others, together with our own sins, are covered in Christlike forgiveness. A God-given, unconditional forgiveness.

As far as the east is from the west, is the distance that our Heavenly Father in His grace, has removed our transgressions from us. Surely we should cover the sins of those who sin against us and be grateful that our own, innumerable sins are also covered in Christ's forgiveness?

By faith, we have received God's eternal forgiveness. His unconditional and unrestricted forgiveness. There is nothing that can separate us from His love, for past, present, and future sins have been washed in the sea of His amazing forgiveness, and His vast ocean of forgetfulness, and we are cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb. 

Should not we who have had the sordid sins of our blackened souls washed, covered, cleansed, and eternally forgiven by our gracious God, reflect His tender-hearted forgiveness, His warm gentleness, His deep compassion and fervent love in our dealings on our brothers and sisters in Christ? Should not we above all things have fervent love one for another, knowing that the love of Christ covers a multitude of sins?

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unconditional and unrestricted forgiveness. Thank You that as far as the east is from the west, is the distance that my sins have been removed from me. Thank You for this truth, that love covers a multitude of sins. I pray that I would not misuse this verse and simply tolerate all sin, or wink at sin, but love as Christ loved me, loving and forgiving in grace and truth. I pray, that I may reflect Christlikeness in all my dealings with others, so that the glory goes to You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

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