Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Love Covers a Multitude of Sins

In my daily devotional reading for 6 April (John 18:1-19:42), my curiosity was stirred when I came across this verse which I never really took note of. My journal entry:

John 18:38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 

Here is a case of a secret believer. With Nicodemus, a Pharisee, they were moved to do what's right although remaining secret believers. They took courage to ask for Jesus' body.

Is Joseph of Arimathea (and Nicodemus) acceptable to God? He is a secret believer. Yet he was given the gracious opportunity to bury Jesus. Is anything too bad for God to forgive? 

In the same reading earlier was the story of Apostle Peter's denial of Jesus three times. Not once, but three! This reminds me of the grace of God that covers a multitude of our sins. Even with Peter's three denials of Jesus, he was forgiven and restored. He went on to become one of the greatest disciple of Christ that ever lived!

Romans 5:8-9 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

I think we barely understand the extent how much our Heavenly Father loves us! Yet many of us harbour doubts in our mind whether we are truly forgiven, or whether we need to do more to earn God's love. The greatest mystery and wonder of the Christian faith is that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves, only that we accept what God did through His Son, by sacrificing Him on the cross for our sins so that we can be forgiven. John 3:16-18.

With that in mind, the reading for 7 April (1 Peter 4:1-11) makes sense. Verse 8: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 

When we understand this love (agape), we understand why Apostle Peter said "love covers over a multitude of sins." He was the recipient of that forgiveness and love. With that, he could love others. How does one practices verse 8-11, unless he has received the love of God that overflows out from his heart deep within. Apostle Paul in these verses exhorted us to:

1. Love each other deeply - love covers a multitude of sins
2. Offer hospitality without grumbling
3. Use whatever gifts to serve others
4. Speak the words of God
5. Serve with the strength God provides - so that God may be praised

Lord, thank You for that reminder. I am thoroughly loved by YOU! Help me love others as close as I can to the way You would love them!

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