Is this not what was meant by Christ when he said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mt 22:37-38)? In fact, he said that the whole law is summed up in these two. If one truly loves God and people, it is difficult to sin against God or people. We can only sin when we suspend our love for God and people.
Peter is speaking of the impending “end of all things” (1 Pt 4:7). He is giving instruction for the Church to stay focused on the coming of Christ. Though he has told them to be alert, sober, prayer, hospitable, generous and faithful in stewardship, it is love, above all that will keep them until the great day of the Lord when he will return to judge the earth.
The love that Peter, and Jesus before him, had in mind was the agape that characterizes the love the Father has. It is selfless but also gets something in return because when it is given, it multiplies to the giver. It is not dependent on feelings. It can be given whether it is accepted or not. And when one loves another with the love of the Father, it is considered by God as love for the Father.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of 1 Peter 4:8
#1 “Above all,”
Love is the greatest commandment. Faith and hope will not be necessary in our eternal glory in heaven, but love will remain forever because “God is love” (1 Jn 4:7). Love exists “above all,” because God is “above all.”
#2 “love each other deeply,”
To love each other deeply is easily misunderstood as an emotion. Emotion can be a part of it, but this love is an action, even more, it is an attitude about life, God, and our fellow man. It is a deep and abiding state of being that gives the Christian perfect peace and aligned him or her with God himself, who is love. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 Jn 3:16).
#3 “because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
Truly, what sins can be committed when one is in a conscious state of loving God and each other with deep love? Can you hate while you love? No. Can you strike your brother? Can you lie, cheat, or steal when you believe in God and love him? No. We must suspend love and even belief in order to sin against God. To believe in him is to love him. To love him is to obey him out of joy and peace.