1 Peter 4:8
Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.
To understand the depth of this ‘deep love’ this verse is referring to, we need to look at the different types of love that was translated from the ancient Greek.
The first ‘love’ recorded in the Bible Genesis 22:2 in reference to Abraham loving his son Isaac. This ‘love’ was the original word, ‘ahab’ (in the Greek). It’s defined as a love for God, loving one’s friends, romantic love, love of ideals, love of pleasures, and so on. The participal form, ‘oheb’, refers to a friend or lover.
The next type of ‘love’ used in the Bible, is from the Greek, ‘phileo’, which means: to be fond of, care for affectionately, cherish, take pleasure in, have personal attachment for.
Then finally there is ‘agape’ form of ‘love’. Which according to the Greek, it was rarely used outside of the New Testament, in that time period. Agape denotes an undefeatable benevolence and unconquerable goodwill that always seeks the highest good of the other person, no matter what he/she does. It is the self-giving love that gives freely without asking anything in return, and does not consider the worth of its object. Agape is more of a love by choice than ‘philos’, which is love by chance; and it refers to the will rather than the emotion. Agape describes the unconditional love GOD has for the world.
Interestingly, my Bible refers that when Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, and Peter replied that he did love Jesus, it was with the phileo form of ‘love’ that Peter replied with (see John 21:15). But once the Holy Spirit imparted to him the fuller understanding of agape love, Peter used the agape (or agapao) words nine times in his writings. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of GOD has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5).
The next word study is for ‘cover’, to cover is a Hebrew idiom meaning “forgive” or “overlook”. Hatred stirs up contentions, but love covers all transgressions. (Proverbs 10:12 AMP) As Christians, we should understand this use of ‘cover’ more than unbelievers. When Jesus hung on the cross, he did that to ‘cover’ our sins, a debt we cannot repay. You have forgiven and taken away the iniquity of Your people, You have covered all their sin. Psalm 85:2 BLESSED (Happy, fortunate, to be envied) is he who has forgiveness of his transgression continually exercised upon him, whose sin is covered. Psalm 32:1
It is just as important for us to forgive others, as it was for Jesus to forgive us, that is why when Jesus taught the disciples how they should pray, he taught them that before we can ask for forgiveness of our sins (transgressions) we have to forgive others of their sins against us (see Matthew 6:9-15) “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
Love and forgiveness, they go hand in hand, we truly learn what love is when we understand that “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life “ (John 3:16). By GOD’s love for us we can understand the covering of our sins by the blood of Jesus; we were washed as white as snow (see Psalm 51:7) and HE has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
We cannot have a comprehension of this Godly love ‘agape’ until we’ve been saved and received the Holy Spirit. And without the Holy Spirit, we are incapable of ‘agape’ love ourselves. As in yesterday’s blog, I wrote that we must ‘walk the talk’, do more than just tell others we are Christians, we must show we are. One of the best ways to show the love of Christ in us is by giving our loving (grace) and forgiveness (mercy) to others (bestowing grace [love when its not deserved] and giving mercy [not getting what is deserved]) we are following Jesus’ example. Our whole purpose as believers is to lead others to Christ (to shine our light in a world full of darkness, be a city on a hill). From the very beginning our world was created because of LOVE, our lives were formed out of LOVE and our sins were forgiven (covered) because of LOVE!