Covering Over Sin

Nov 10, 2023 | Articles

In Peter’s first letter to believers, he is warning that the end is near. He tells the readers to be alert and pray they might use their gifts to the fullest extent. In the midst of a list of exhortations meant to encourage, he says that one of them is above all the others  the one to “love one another deeply.” Why? “Because love,” he explains, “covers over a multitude of sins.”

At first glance, we might miss the full meaning of the phrase, “because love covers over a multitude of sins.” Fortunately for us, God has given us other passages in scripture that help us understand the kind of love that can do this. In First Corinthians chapter thirteen, God tells us that even if we speak in tongues, prophesy all kinds of deep mysteries, and have the faith to move mountains but have not love, we are nothing. He says further, that even if we give all we possess to the poor but do not love, we gain nothing.” Then Paul tells us that God’s kind of love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. God’s kind of love will never fail us. Ever. And this is the kind of love we must have for each other.

In both their passages, Peter and Paul talk about gifts of the Holy Spirit but stress the fact that having love is far more important than anything else.

The kind of love that covers over a multitude of sins is most brilliantly described in Philippians 2:1-8. Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (NLT)

We must never forget that, as believers, we are to love one another deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.

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