1 Peter 4:8-11
See also the blog from May 26, 2009
What these verses say is "above all things." That means that it is a serious priority for our consideration. The subject of this section of scripture, love, is incumbent upon each and every one of us to love one another, and not only to love one another, but to love one another fervently. I see that the Greek word for fervent literally means "stretched out." This means that the love wherewith we are to love one another is one that is to be stretched out, or one that lingers long, even to the end of life.
The reason for the fervent love (charity) is in order to cover a multitude of sins: each one of us has a multitude of sins. There is not a one of us who does not have enough sins to stretch over the entire earth and back again, enough to reach through space almost endlessly. The only thing that will cover sins is love. John 3:16 expresses God's love toward his people in that he forgave us our sins so that we shall never perish. We should reflect this divine love one to another so that we, also, may have our sins covered, covered that they may not be brought up and reminded and rebuked continually. This fervent love between believers will make our co-existence not only easier but formidable.
The Greek word for "hospitality" means literally "the love of strangers." If we would just learn to love one another as believers, we would not need to worry about strangers. No Christian should be a stranger to another Christian. We have a communion together that makes every new believer we meet a common fellow.
Now this love and hospitality is a gift, as shown in verse 10. God has given believers many gifts, and this is a primary one, one that we should use on a daily basis to live the new life with love, thus being good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Now when we speak to one another, we should speak the truths of the "oracles of God," the word of God that is always pure and perfect. No believer should ever be offended at another believer when he hears the truth from God's word. It is the word of God which brings us to repentance and conversion in our daily lives. We should read the word often and listen to it in conversation and in teaching and preaching, verse 11.
All this living with love and listening and preaching the word of God is done to the glorification of Jesus Christ, for it is to him that we owe our praise, and to him belongs dominion forever and forever. Jesus Christ is our Savior, and he has brought us together as believers to be one in Christ through his blood. With love we can have a divine communion one with another, and no believer will be a stranger to us.