We’ve all done them – those social blunders, those miscalculated words that have tumbled from our lips only to be met by horrified looks or an awkward silence. It was a full thirty years ago, but it might as well have been yesterday: we were a set of first-year students huddled into a typically cramped campus study-bedroom. We clutched mugs of tea, munched on toast and were deep into a discussion on some words around the subject of love.
These were the words: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4 verse 8
With great confidence I uttered my words of wisdom suggesting that our love was of such potential and such power that, as the bible verse said, it could “cover over” and effectively deal with our sins. It did not occur to me, though it did seem to occur to everyone else, that this was a rather nice piece of heresy! My fellow-students lost no time in verbally jumping up and down on my head!
If, as John Lennon put it: “all you need is love, love. Love is all you need…” then we have just removed the requirement for a fully-human sinless Saviour to die upon the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. If our love can kill 100% of sins dead, then the most Jesus can do is to function as a good example of how to go about doing loving things.
It was no faux pas on the lips of John the Baptist when he saw Jesus walking past and said:
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”. What a great Saviour we have. N’est-ce pas?