For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 2 Peter 1:5-7 (ESV)
The apostle Peter exhorted us, that with all haste, to be diligent about the business of fully applying love to our brotherly affection. You might ask: “Isn’t brotherly affection, love?” Well, yes it is. So, it seems that Peter is telling us to add love to love. And in a way he is. When he refers to brotherly affection I believe he is referring to the love that we have for the church; our brothers and sisters in Christ. When he refers to adding love to brotherly affection, I believe he is including those who are outside the church. The overall picture he gives us is that we should love both saints and sinners.
Adding love to brotherly affection speaks to the very heart of the second commandment that says we are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). Our neighbor certainly includes our fellow Christians, but it also includes those who are not Christians. In his letter to the Romans Paul wrote, Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:10 ESV) Our neighbors are the people we come in contact with everyday. The acts of love and kindness we show toward them are an extension of the love and kindness of our heavenly Father.
The type of love Peter is speaking of not only refers to our non-Christian neighbors but also those who hate us; our enemies. Jesus commanded us to love our enemies. And that the way we show our love for them is by doing good to them expecting nothing in return. Simply loving those who love us carries no benefit or reward to us. Even the sinners do as much. However, Jesus said that showing love to our enemies would bring us great reward. We will be sons of the Most High; sons of our Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:27-36). Showing love to those who hate us also offers them an example of God’s character, especially his perfection and mercy (Matthew 5:45, 48; Luke 6:35-36).
Paul gave us a description of what love looks like. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a ESV) Love is a fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in the lives of believers (Galatians 5:22).
John wrote, Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8 ESV) So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. (1 John 4:16-17 ESV)
Paul wrote,Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV) Paul’s command doesn’t seem to leave anything out. God has called us to be like him in this world. And we are the most like him when we are holy and loving.
Is all that you do done in love?
Scriptures for meditation:
1 Corinthians 14:1