1 Peter 4: 7-11
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Study: Love covers a multitude of sins
Opening discussion question:
What is your favourite cleaning product and why? The problem with some cleaning products is that they leave all the right scents and smells, but actually don’t clean. Even some bleach product claim to remove only 99.9% of known germs. Peter claims that “love covers a multitude of sins.”
Reading the opening few verses of 1 Peter 4 you will see that he is addressing the challenges faced by Christians in their communities in the first Century. Have a look at some of them and try to list them. Your list may include:
a. Pressure to relapse to pagan ways and habits from non-believing neighbours v 4
b. Verbal abuse v 4
c. The attractions of their sin-filled past v 3
d. Coping with the desire to “fit in”with friends and neighbours, but somehow be different.
Does any of that feel familiar in your context? How do you cope?
In a recent sermon Archbishop Justin Welby offers us three approaches from Peter’s letter:
- For the members of the Church to love one another deeply
- For the members of the Church to practise hospitality without complaint
- For the Church to use its gifts willingly and freely for the benefits of those seeking love and acceptance.
The word for love which Peter uses is not surprisingly “ Agape. It was the love demonstrated by Jesus when He washed Peter’s feet. It was the love demonstrated by Jesus from the Cross. It is a love which is expressed practically and hole-heartedly. It was the kind of love that set apart the early Christians from their neighbours and ultimately attracted those with tender hearts to join them. It is the love and life-style we are commanded to have.
You only need to read the list provided by St Paul in 1 Cor 13 to see how love covers a multitude of sins:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.”
Ultimately Jesus’ death on the Cross did not kill 99.9% of all known germs, but 100% of all sin.