ove covers a multitude of sins … it's one of those phrases we've all heard and probably even said. But what does it really mean?

Love Covers a Multitude of Sins

The phrase comes from 1 Peter 4:8, which says,

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

The word "cover" in this verse means to "forbear" or "put up with." In other words, in the context of the verse, love puts up with a lot. It covers mistakes and flaws. It overlooks imperfections and failures. It accepts people without judgment. This is what love does; this is how it covers a multitude of sins.

The apostle Peter, who wrote the passage that has come to be known as "love covers a multitude of sins," had a close-up view of Jesus' life. He was there when Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the multitudes and walked on water. Peter saw Jesus forgive men who denied him and women who betrayed him.

And perhaps most importantly, Peter was present at the foot of the cross as Jesus suffered and died for our sins — all our sins — so we could be forgiven of them.

What Love Truly Means 

For some, love is a feeling. For others, it's an action, or simply the way they treat people. But what is the biblical definition of love and how does it cover sin?

The Bible describes love in many ways throughout Scripture. God defines love, and then He gives us examples of the type of love we're to have for one another. John 3:16 tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8), and that He demonstrated His love for us by sending His Son to die on our behalf (Romans 5:8). "We also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16). In fact, Jesus said that loving Him means obeying His commands (John 14:15).

In 1 Corinthians 13:4–8, Paul describes the traits of love. Here is how The Message translates verse 7: "Love never takes advantage of other people." The King James Version says it this way: "Love believeth all things." What is this talking about? Love covers a multitude of sins. This doesn't mean love always accepts sinful behavior or excuses it. It means that true love does not judge or condemn but instead forgives and overlooks minor offenses. Love believes the best about others and covers them. The bible teaches us this principle in Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.”

Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs

Forgiveness is a hard thing to talk about. Love, on the other hand, is easy. Who doesn’t love a good love story?

Love is one of the most misunderstood topics in our culture. It has become synonymous with lust and passion. But lust and passion are not love; they are simply another form of selfishness, hiding behind the veil of love.

Love is a commitment to do what is best for someone else, no matter what it costs us personally. 

One of my favorite books of the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13. I memorized it and quote it often, but I'll be honest—many times I've focused on the love described in that chapter as something to give away.  But that's not the complete picture. 

The Greek word translated "love" in that passage is agape. It's a love described as "patient and kind." Agape love "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:7, New International Version).

Agape is a self-sacrificing love that puts others first. That's God's kind of love. It's His nature—and He wants us to take on His nature by allowing His Spirit to live inside us (see Galatians 5:22-23).

When we allow ourselves to be filled with God's Spirit, we become agents of forgiveness. And when we forgive others, we walk in agape love! Forgiveness is not just about getting past offenses; it's about loving others in spite of them. 

Walking in Sin Keeps Us from Loving 

The Bible defines sin as “lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). Sin is lawlessness because it is a violation of God’s law. We sin whenever we violate the will of God for our lives.

In 1 John 4:20, we are told that “if anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” When we claim to love God but do not live in obedience to His Word, we lie. In Romans 13:10 Paul said, “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” When we sin against our fellow man by violating the Ten Commandments, such as coveting, stealing, lying or murder (Exodus 20), we fail to truly love others and ourselves and fall short of God’s standard of holiness.

In 1 Corinthians 13:6 Paul says that love “does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” Those who truly walk in love and are led by the Spirit of God will not rejoice in what is sinful or wrong.

Let Love Cover Everything You Do

Brothers and sisters, today - let love cover everything you do. Remember, God’s love is not only about forgiving sins of our former lives, but through His love, we are delivered from the power of sin (Matthew 18). Through God’s love we are delivered from the power of darkness and transferred into a new covenant that compels our lives to walk in complete freedom. When you choose to love, you allow God’s love to work through your life so that others may feel the reality of God’s everlasting love for them. 

Mar 20, 2022

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