As we continue in our study, today we look at several verses that remind us how to live, and in doing so, to love. Verse 8 is our SOAP verse, but for context and teaching purposes, verses 1-11 are so fitting.
Living for God
4 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Love each other no matter what…and if you need more convincing, the NIV Study Bible Notes point out several other verses.
4:8 love each other deeply. See 1Th 4:9; 2Pe 1:7 and notes; 1Jn 4:7–11. love covers over . . . sins. See Jas 5:20 and note. Love forgives again and again (see Mt 18:21–22 and note on 18:22; 1Co 13:5; Eph 4:32 and note).
Remember…to love God is to love each other. We cannot love God and hate each other.
I am reminded that nothing is above God, and nothing is below loving each other. It is the greatest commandment God gives me, and in doing so, a multitude of sins are covered. Love because He loved us…and He died for us as sinners…yes, there was THAT much love.
Lord, in my day to day dealings with people, I sometimes like to think I am better. Yet You create all of us in Your image and love each of us without conditions. Help me to open my heart, Lord, and to give just as freely as You give to me. For I know I cannot claim to love You, yet not love my neighbor. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.