to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. . . .
You did not choose me,
but I chose you and appointed you
so that you might go and bear fruit--
fruit that will last--
and so that whatever you ask in my name
the Father will give you.
First Peter 4:8 says,
love each other deeply,
because love covers over a
multitude of sins.”
Proverbs 10:12 says,
"Hatred stirs up conflict,
but love covers over all wrongs.”
In what way does love cover sin?
To “cover” sin is to forgive it,
and forgiveness is associated with love.
The best example of a love that covers sin is
Jesus’ sacrificial death
on our behalf.
Jesus’ prayer from the cross, “Father, forgive them,”
says it all
Jesus’ bearing of our iniquities was an
undeniable act of love
(Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10).
In fact, Jesus did more than just cover our sin;
He did away with it completely
In 1 Peter 4:8 the apostle is talking about
As believers we reflect the love of God
by forgiving others.
Jesus told His disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you,
so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34–35). First Corinthians 13 tells us that love
“keeps no record of wrongs”
When we love each other, we are willing to forgive each other.
Love covers sin in that it is willing to forgive.
Love also covers over a multitude of sins
in that it does
not gossip about sin.
Rather than share the offenses of our brothers and sisters in Christ with anyone who will listen, we exercise discretion and restraint.
Matthew 18:15–17 instructs us on the appropriate way to confront those who sin. James 5:19–20 says, “My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”
It is loving to speak truth to others regarding sin.
First Corinthians 13:6 tells us that “love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”
Another thing love does is protect (1 Corinthians 13:7). Love does not cover over a multitude of sin by sweeping matters under the rug. Some have appealed to the forgiving nature of love in their attempt to hide indiscretion. For example, rather than report child abuse, a church might cover it up. This is not what true love does.
Love protects by helping both the victim and the offender,
and it also strives to prevent further offenses.
Love covering sin also does not mean we disregard our own emotions or ignore our personal boundaries. We cannot “cover” sin by denying that it hurt us.
We cover sin by acknowledging it and then
extending the forgiveness God has given us to others.
“Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the TRUTH
It always protects,
always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”
(1 Corinthians 13:4–7).
Another way that love covers over a multitude of sins is choosing not to take offense at everything.
Some sins against us are not worth confronting.
Personal slights, snide or ignorant remarks, and minor annoyances can be easily forgiven for the sake of love.
Proverbs 19:11 says,
A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to
one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
If we are patient,
not envious or self-seeking,
we are much less likely to even take offense.
Acting in love means we put others before ourselves.
Love can cover a multitude of sin in that,
when we act in true love,
we are prone to overlook minor offenses, tolerate the provocations, and forgive the sin.
First Corinthians 13:13 says,
"And now these three remain:
faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.”
This comes just after Paul’s eloquent and famous description
of what true love--agape love—is.
There are several ways in which love can be
said to be the greatest.
First Corinthians 13:13
lists love along with faith and hope as a gift that lasts forever.
The lasting nature of faith, hope, and love
make them greater than all other gifts of the Spirit,
which are temporary;
the gifts of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge
are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:8 as coming to an end.
Of the three “forever gifts,” love is the greatest.
Love is greater than faith and hope in that both faith and hope
depend on love for their existence.
Without love, there can be no
a loveless faith is nothing but an
empty religious exercise.
As Paul says,
"If I have a faith that can move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing”
(1 Corinthians 13:2).
there can be no genuine hope; a loveless hope is an oxymoron, because
we can’t truly hope for something
that we do not love.
Faith and hope are dead, sterile things
if not accompanied by love.
One of the reasons that love is the greatest gift is that it is
essential to God’s nature.
First John 4:8 tells us that
God is LOVE
The book of John and John’s three letters
are replete with the theme of love. God gives us His love, and
we reflect that love back to Him:
“We love because he first loved us”
(1 John 4:19).
Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this: to
lay down one’s life for one’s friends. . . .
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
This is my command: Love each other” (John 15:9–17). Here we see that love is something that has always existed among the persons of the Trinity.
Love has no beginning and does not end.
And this is the love into which we are invited. Jesus desired for future believers to be part of His love as well: “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (John 17:26).
that the greatest two commandments both include love, the greatest gift:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
All the Law and the Prophets
hang on these two commandments”
John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.”
In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor,
but love always benefits another.
In John 13:34–35 Jesus says,
“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will
know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.”
Love always requires an “other” as an object;
love cannot remain within itself,
and that is part of what makes love the
Love is core to God’s character and
central to the Christian life.
The law of Christ
is to love God and love others.
Love infuses all that God does and should infuse
all that we do.
Love never fails
(1 Corinthians 13:8),
and it will never cease.
Because of this, love is greater than even hope and faith.