1 Peter 4:8
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.…
Because St. John was emphatically the apostle of love, it must not be supposed that the inculcation of this virtue was left to him alone. The eloquent panegyric of charity in St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians is a proof of that apostle's sense of the importance of this virtue. And this passage in St. Peter's Epistle shows that the Lord's companionship had not failed to produce upon the mind of "the prince of the apostles" an impression of the Divine beauty and of the supreme excellence of love.
I. THE DIVINE FOUNDATION OF LOVE AS A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE.
1. The Divine nature is love; this is the pre-eminent attribute of the Eternal Father.
2. The spirit and example of our Lord Jesus are the supreme revelation of this grace; and such a revelation was only possible because Jesus was the Son of God.
II. THE PEERLESS EXCELLENCE OF LOVE AS A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE. St. Paul tells us, "the greatest of these is charity." And Peter here enjoins Christians to be "above all things fervent in their love."
III. THE SOCIAL BENEFITS OF LOVE. In the Christian society there is no place for those lower principles of union which have force in some relations of human life, as e.g. a common interest. But where love is, there joy and peace, fellowship and sympathy and material helpfulness, will assuredly prevail. Love covers sins; it hides those that exist, prevents those that in its absence might make their appearance, and secures by intercession the pardon of those which have been committed.
IV. THE FERVOR OF CHRISTIAN LOVE. Love may be in name only; it may exist in a state of feebleness. But in such cases it is of little service. The love which Christ approves is that which" many waters cannot quench," and which is "stronger than death." - J.R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.