The End of All Things is at Hand, so Persist in Love

1 Peter 4.8: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

New life in Christ is lived in a community that shows love for one another. In his Upper Room Discourse, on the evening before his crucifixion, Jesus said to his disciples: “Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13.35).

If we say love Jesus, we must love his body, the church. It is true that Christ's followers are not always lovable. But Christ's love to us is what now stretches our love to one another. We love others because Christ first loved us. And the love that we show toward one another “covers a multitude of sins.”  

We do not love others if we take delight in finding and exposing their faults and sins, for love “does not rejoice at wrongdoing.” Love looks past the faults and deficiencies of others, because it realizes that God still loves me, even though I have faults and deficiencies. Love doesn’t hunt for someone to blame. It doesn’t remain bitter. It isn’t quick to judge. It doesn’t insist on its own way. Rather, it is patient and kind. It’s not irritable or resentful, but bears with others.  

That doesn’t mean that we never confront or correct a brother when he is wrong or has offended. To the contrary, if we love that person, we will want to see him restored. But that’s the difference: love doesn’t delight in punishment, but in restoration and true repentance. Love doesn’t delight in saying “I’m right, you’re wrong,” but rather in helping the one who has erred, and being quick to reconcile with him, all the while admitting our own faults and confessing our sins to the brother, keeping watch on ourselves, lest we fall where we think we stand.

Love delights in forgiving others, because it delights in the forgiveness it has received from God. Love sees every conflict with a brother as a great opportunity for the Gospel, for no problem in any relationship is too big for the Gospel. And that is where we find the power to love one another earnestly and persistently: in the gospel of Jesus Christ that announces to us: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners” – while we were his enemies and unlovable! – “Christ died for us.”

This is part of the new reality which Christ has inaugurated! “The end of all things is at hand…[So,] keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

From Pastor Brown's sermon on 1 Peter 4.7-11. You can listen to the whole thing here.