1 Peter 1:22 says, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.”
The letter bares the name of the apostle Peter, providing solid grounds to believe that Peter is the author of this letter. Peter 1:1 says, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.”
The letter is written by an eyewitness; someone who was a party or witness of the earthly live of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 5:1 says. “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed.”
Peter is an important figure in the tradition of the Gospel. 1 Corinthians 15:4, 5 says, That he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scripture, and that he appeared to Peter and then the twelve.”
The first person to encounter the risen Christ was Peter. Paul says he went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days. No doubt, Peter was the witness to the life and traditions of Jesus’ life. (Galatians 1:18)
Peter and James, the brother of Jesus served as leaders of the Jerusalem church. To fully examine Peter’s presence in the revelation of the Gospel would take many pages, if not volumes. Even so, Peter was a prominent figure in the Gospel tradition.
1 Peter was written in the 60s A.D, not long after the death and resurrection of Jesus. 1 Peter 5:13 says, She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does Mark.”
This verse leads to the belief that Peter was in Rome when he wrote this letter, and that the reference to Babylon, as was in that day a symbol of Rome.
In his letter, Peter uses the word God thirty-nine times, more than any other letter in the Bible. God is, “The living God” (1:23), who’s will is done (2:15; 3:17), who foreknows who are his (1:2), and whose Word stands forever (1:25). God is the Father (1:2), he is holy (1:15), He is “the God of all grace” (5:10). This is just a sample, the point being that Peter sets out to give us a full understanding of who God is, and what He is doing.
Peter says that the world is evil, riddled with grief, loss and suffering; all of which, we are a part of and must endure. He moves from the present age we live in, to the age that is to come; i.e., the second coming of Jesus Christ, and the joy knowing life extends beyond mortal existence.
1 Peter 1:2 says, “Who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and the sprinkling of blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.”
Peter tells us that we are the new people of God, which is not something we accomplished on our own; but, because God chose and predestined us; we have been set apart, by the Holy Spirit, to live in obedience to his Son, Jesus Christ.
Peter says, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.”
How did we purify ourselves? It’s a great question, and the answer provides peace for the human soul. Take for example, John 17:17: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Purification is the result of faith in God’s word, and the purification process begins as we yield and live in obedience to God’s word.
God’s word begins a work in us; it scarifies and delivers our hearts, minds and souls from the stain of sin and all uncleanliness. John 8:32 says, “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
The Holy Spirit is the agent of freedom; it enables us to conform to God’s will and purpose. God’s Spirit speaks to our souls/spirit, creating thoughts and ideas that are validated and empowered by God’s word.
Take for example, when we put seasoning on vegetables the flavor is enhanced, which pleases our tastebuds. The Holy Spirit entered our lives, transforming our hearts and minds, so that our hearts and minds conform to God and his word.
John 3:5 says, “Jesus answered, most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
Born of the Spirit, God’s word becomes the driver of our souls. We learn to pray, mediate and study His word. Our goal is to have our lives blossom with good deeds, and fruit that pleases God.
To be in Christ, is to know that God is pleased, and that the Holy Spirt is the presence of God facilitating our understanding of his word. Thus, living in obedience to God’s word, is the work of purifying ourselves.
Titus 3:5,6 says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Reflection: Parents need to discipline their children, but not beat, abuse and curse them, causing them to live in fear. Husbands and wives ought to live without fear of violence, abandonment and faithlessness. Siblings ought to exist without lying, stealing, robing and preying on one another. Families and communities ought to grow and prosper without fostering illegal systems, breading criminal behavior, selling drugs and committing acts of violence against one another.
As people, we ought to disdain jealously, envy, slander, lying, cheating, gossip and backstabbing. We must dispel the dark days of life, with light. For where there is light darkness has to flee; it cannot exist.
Peter says, “Have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.”
It would be difficult for flesh and bones alone to define “sincere love,” nevertheless give meaning to “love one another deeply.” However, we don’t have to go far to find it’s meaning. For, the fruit of the Spirit is love.
The love described here is born in the heart, and not the world. It is not the product of sensual affections, selfish passions, hypocrisy or deviousness. No, the meaning of love here is defined, in that, Jesus Christ died on the cross in our place.
It’s hard to image someone giving up their life, so someone else can live. But if called to do such a thing, and to willing do so defines love, as mentioned in this verse. Love is ardent and strong, warm, informal, free; it is unmerited favor.
1 John 3:16-18 says, By this we know love, because He laid down his life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
Love that is born of God’s Spirit, sprouts from the heart and is pure because it is nourished by the truth, which is the Word of God. It is a light that does not mix with darkness, but exist untarnished, undiminished; indeed, it is Holy.
1 John 4:16 says, “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
Reflection: It so easy to hate, abuse trust, hold grudges, be unforgiving and live in isolation. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit enters our lives and we experience rebirth; we are born of the Spirit. God’s Spirit is Holy, and moves us toward holiness. The realization of holiness is to know and obey God’s voice.
God is saying to us today, “Do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” God is holy, God is love. Love in holy!
Lord, thank you for the hope we have in being born again; it is a living hope made possible through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Lord, we have faith that our hope and expectation of your second coming will never parish, spoil or fade; but that it will remain safe and vital in our hearts.
Lord, help us to obey your word, and to listen to the Holy Spirit. Anoint us with the faith that is of greater worth than fine gold; empower us with faith that is genuine, faith that results in praise, glory and honor for your presence in our lives. Lord, all things are possible with you; anoint lives with love. We ask this knowing that: “Greater love has no one than this, then to lay down one’s life for his friends.” In Jesus name. Amen