Charity, the Love of God in Demonstration
By Karen Sankowski
Our text in First Peter 4:8 reads:
|"and above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."|
This love was first implemented by God the Father. His love for man was so great, He sent His only Son. The Father sent His love to us, by way of His Son, who is the express Image of Himself.
We understand that sin had to be dealt with. It had to be paid for. Jesus made this payment on our behalf; and through this payment, the payment of Christ’s death, the shedding of His blood and His resurrection; came the True Love that covered a multitude of sins. This is the only way the Father could accomplish this. He couldn’t demonstrate His love to us without this provision!
The following: are excerpts are from Unger’s Bible Dictionary:
"We must derive our conceptions of God from the special revelation that He has given of Himself, and this declares His love as strongly as His existence. “God is love” (1 John 4:16)."
"The Scriptures contain no equivalent statements with respect to other qualities of the divine nature. Love is the highest characteristic of God, the one attribute in which all others harmoniously blend. The love of God is more than kindness or benevolence. The latter may be exercised toward irrational creatures, but love is directed toward rational, personal beings. The eternal love of God has never been without its object, a fact upon which we receive some light from the Scripture revelation of the threefold personality of God (Matt.3:17; John 15:9; John 17:23-26."
"The gracious love of God to men, even to sinful men, is most strongly declared in both the old and new testament (Ex.34:6; Jer.31:3; John 3:16; 1 John 4:10). The love of God underlies all that He has done and is doing. The highest disclosure and most complete proof of divine love, is in redemption (Romans5:8; Romans 8:32-39; 1John 4:9-10). The reality and power of this love are properly apprehended only under the influence of the Holy Spirit. “The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans5:5)."
"Love is the preeminent virtue. The whole law is summed up in love, not in the sense of rendering all other requirements as inconsequential, but in the sense that love is fundamental, expresses the spirit of all others, and with enlightenment will lead to the observance of all others (Matt.22:37-39; Matt.5:43-48; John 14:15,21; John 15: 12-14; Romans 13:8; 1 Cor.13; Gal.5:14)."
"Accordingly, love is declared to be the chief test of Christian discipleship (John 13:35; Matt.5:44; 1 John 3:14). “We love, because He first loved us” are words that rightly express the whole matter (1John 4:19; 2 Cor.5:14; Romans12:2)." (End quotes from Unger’s).
In Peter’s writing, he is giving exhortations to goodliness. Peter tells us: the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer; and above all things have fervent charity among yourselves…1 Peter 4:8. This particular passage of scripture does not just use the word charity, butfervent charity.
The dictionary describes the word fervent as: having or showing very warm or intense spirit, feeling, enthusiasm, ardent, passionate, a fervent plea.
The apostle Paul, admonishes us to: Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; For bearing one another, and forgiving one another; if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Col.3:12-14.
All gifts, however excellent, will profit you nothing, if you have not charity.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 Cor.13:1-13