Saturday, August 10, 2013

1st Peter 4 - Fervent love

"Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)
Peter is writing from the perspective of our happening upon the "end of all things". As we approach the end of the age, there are certain behaviors we need to adopt and strengthen, certain mindsets and alertness that need to be ours, and, above all, there is the need to maintain fervent love one for another. The Greek word used here for "fervent:" means to be earnest, continual and without ceasing. It also carries the idea of intentionality. Peter encourages to be intentional in our love for one another and to ensure that that our love is extend unceasingly to those around us. Jesus warns us, speaking of the end of the age, that, "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold" (Matthew 24:12 NIV) As we approach the end of the age, we can expect wickedness to increase, and the response of human nature will be to let our love for one another grow cold, but this must not be so among us. We must be intentional, looking for ways to continue to extend our love to others, to allow our love to be an action, more than a feeling, to find ways to express it to those deserving of it. We must never let our love for one another cease.
"Be hospitable to one another without complaint." (1 Peter 4:9)
One way we can be fervent in showing love one for another is in the practicing of hospitality. Hospitality shares the same root word form which we get the Greek word for "brotherly love." Hospitality to others, especially strangers, is a natural expression of the love and care we have for others. The writer of Hebrews encourages us never to cease to show hospitality, and includes a curious remark about those we so entertain. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it." (Hebrews 13:2) It is unclear if the writer mean supercelestial beings or used the term "angels" in its other definition as "messengers," meaning they may have entertained messengers sent by God without realizing the hidden treasure inside the ones they were entertaining. Hospitality also means more than dinner parties, it can involve opening up our home to strangers, sojourners, and people in need. These are the ones where, after some time has passed, we might be tempted to grumble and complain against. The Greek word for "grumble" means to "murmur.," to speak complaints under our breath. On the outside we might be saying, "please come in, you are so welcome here!" but inside we are saying, "not again, this is the fifth time this week and I'm going to have to clean my whole house again after they leave." We must not let our hearts grow cold in extending our love to strangers and to those in need. Who knows who those people we accept into our homes really are, what giftings and callings they have in God, and what blessing emanate from them to those who show them love. As love never fails, let not our hospitality fail as well.

David Robison

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