And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. ~1 Peter 4:8
Today is Valentine’s Day. Traditionally, it is associated with love and romance. The highest word for “love” is the Greek word “agape.” Agape refers to the love of God. When we use it in the context of loving people, it implies loving people as God loves them. The word “charity” that the King James translators used for agape love had a much greater meaning than how we use it today. It meant the giving of love to another person so that the other person is substantially better off. It also implied that the person exercising love did not expect anything in return. Peter gives us a powerful command regarding the application of love.
We see the predicament.
“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” The time in which Peter was writing was a time of intense persecution of believers. There was much widescale suffering of believers at the hands of the Romans. He emphasized that the end was near. If when Peter wrote his epistle was the end time, we are so much closer to the end time now. We must be sober-minded and very prayerful so not to give in to the pressure of the worldly temptations we encounter every day.
We see the practice.
“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves.” Peter is encouraging us to exercise fervent charity among one another. The word “fervent” means “earnest,” “stretched out,” and “without ceasing”. Our love to our brothers and sisters in Christ is to be a love that is uninhibited, unconstrained, without barriers, passionate, unstoppable, and unending. The love that believers practice among each other is to mimic the sacrificial love that Christ exhibited for us when He died on the cross. His love was earnest and stretched out. His love paid the price for all of our sins. Hence, we should walk in love, even as Christ loved us and gave himself for a sacrifice and sweet-smelling offering.
We see the provision.
“For charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” Fervent charity thinketh no evil, beareth all things, suffereth long, and is kind. We will be offended, hurt, criticized, and disappointed by other Christians. When we’ve been offended or hurt, our inclination is to either run or to retaliate. Instead, when we practice fervent charity, this covers the multitude of sins. In other words, it enables us to forgive and to forget. It enables us to keep serving and not to be sinning. It enables us turn the other cheek and pray for those who despitefully use us. The solution for all our social and relational ills is to practice fervent charity.
We see the priority.
“Above all things.” Peter challenges us to make our priority in Christian living the practice of fervent charity. The pinnacle of Christian maturity is agape love. We are most like God when we love. Godliness is loving people as God loves them. The way in which we reach and respond to a hostile world is through the practice of charity. The way in which we eventually reach a sin-hardened person is through fervent charity. The sustainability of a local church in a corrupt world is to practice fervent charity. The means by which marriages have over-the-top relationships is through fervent charity.
Let the love of Christ saturate your life, and be filled with the ambition to practice fervent charity. Be loving, lovable, and lovely! Be a Christian with unbelievable love!
Have a love-enriched God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Numbers 7