The First Letter of Peter: Chapter 1:22-25

Study No.6: (1 Peter 1: 22-25)

God’s Word says that “without holiness no one shall see the LORD” (Hebrews 12:14). And again it says; “If the root is holy so are the branches” (Romans 11:16). Peter had been encouraging believers to live godly lives set apart to God for His exclusive use and in this his second letter encourages them to continue to live this way in view of the Lord’s return (2 Peter 3:10-12). In this his first letter He also has reminded them of their inheritance in the world to come and that though their faith will be tested through persecution and trial, they will be brought through it and sustained in it and experience an inexpressible and glorious joy (1:3-7). Now Peter goes on to show how living for Messiah Jesus will affect how believers relate to each other.

Exposition: (1 Peter 1:22-25)

(Vs.22) “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.”

If we are to live pure and separated lives to God then we must be purified through obeying the truth of God’s Word with the help of the Holy Spirit. If we are not purified by the blood of Messiah Jesus and to keep ourselves filled with ‘the oil’ of the Holy Spirit then ‘the lamp’ of our spiritual man will go out and we will not be ready for the Lord’s return. We see this in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). When we see the first century Body of Messiah persecuted and assailed by trails and tests of every kind we see what will happen to the Body of Messiah  just before His Second Coming (Matthew 10:21-22).

Peter encourages us to love one another not superficially or just emotionally but with a deep and sincere love that comes from the heart being the seat of our affections. If we seek to cultivate this kind of love then the oil of the Spirit in the lamp of our spiritually regenerated inner spirit man will not go out, and when the darkness of tribulation comes, we will be able to stand together because of the love we have cultivated for each other through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). If we love one another deeply from the heart by the power of the Holy Spirit we will be given His strength to persevere to the end (4:12-14) (Luke 21:12-19). In these last of the last days we must stand together as a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Our relationship with our fellow brothers and sisters in Messiah is vitally important because it will be tested through trial. If we are unwilling to obey the truth as it is revealed in the Word of God then we will not have the capability or sincere love required to love deeply from the heart. We can only love others as God loves them with his love which has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). If we allow ourselves to criticize, condemn and betray confidences where our fellow believers are concerned then we will be exposed to the temptation to betray them when real persecution comes (Matthew 24:9-10). When we love each other deeply from the heart according to God’s Word our souls are purified and in so doing fulfil the Law of God (Romans 13:9-10). And then we read…

(Vs.23) “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”

Without the spiritual rebirth from above we will not have the capacity to obey God’s Word or to love others because only those who have the Spirit of God dwelling deep down on the inside of them will be capable of loving others as God loves. The “agape love” of God can only be given through the Holy Spirit who sheds this love abroad in our regenerated inner spirit man. It is this love that springs from our hope (Romans 5:5). It is a supernatural unconditional love which Rabbi the apostle Paul writes about in His first letter to the assembly at Corinth (1 Corinthians Chapter 13). If we do not have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us then it is impossible to love with the “agape” of God.  This love of God in us is the mark that we have been truly born again by the Holy Spirit accompanied by the other fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:6; 16-18, 22-25).

Now the instrument that the Holy Spirit uses to bring about the new spiritual birth in us is the Word of God. We see this illustrated in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23) (Mark 4:1-20) (Luke 8:4-15). The “soil” is the heart or the seat of the affections. The “seed” is the Word of God. The “sower” is the one who plants the seed of God’s Word into the soil of the heart, and it is the Holy Spirit who generates that seed and waters it causing it to become fruitful. The results depend on the receptivity of the heart to that seed of God’s Word. This “seed” of God’s Word is an imperishable seed because it is eternal in nature and produces in us eternal life as it is “watered” by the Holy Spirit. God’s Word not only dwells in us but endures in us. His Word then is the instrument the Holy Spirit uses in His convicting and converting work and the instrument He uses to correct us and to guide us through life (Psalm 119:11, 105, 130). God’s Word then is an enduring Word that transcends time and it will say the same thing tomorrow as it does today. His Word can be trusted when all else fails. And so Peter continues…

(Vs.24-25) “For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.”

Every enterprise that man has established without God will fade like the grass which is here today but gone tomorrow. No matter the titles, the accolades, the successes and the accumulation of wealth one achieves in this life, they will leave it all behind when they physically die and are thrust into eternity. As we read in Ecclesiastes; “As a man came from his mother’s womb, so he will depart again, naked as he arrived. He takes nothing for his labour to carry in his hands” (Ecclesiastes 5:15). The Roman Empire persecuting the Body of Messiah would cease to exist one day and the glory of Rome and the Caesars would fade and wither away as the flowers of the field. Peter reminds us that earthly kingdoms rise and fall but that God’s kingdom will last forever. Just as the Roman Empire was overthrown and ceased to exist so every empire and kingdom of man that God has not established will be judged and  destroyed and that by the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus when He comes to establish His Millennial Messianic reign on earth. The last empire to be destroyed will be the beast empire of Islam and the nations aligned with it. At this time the saints will inherit the kingdom (Daniel 2:32-45; 7:20-27).

What the first century Body of Messiah needed to hear is the same that the end-time Body of Messiah needs to hear in these last of the last days, especially when persecution breaks out in the western democracies traditionally associated with Judeo-Biblical Christianity. At such time we will need to know that the glory of man fades away and withers like the flowers in the field that are here today and gone tomorrow, but that the Word of our God stands forever, unshakable, unchangeable, immovable, indestructible, unchained and the only foundation upon which our lives can be built and stand when hit by the storms of life (Matthew 7:24-27) (Luke 6:46-49).

Whether it be trials, tests, difficult circumstances, demonic oppression or persecution, or even betrayal by other professing believers and even including the members of our own household we cannot avoid these matters, but if we are building the foundation of our lives upon the solid rock of God’s Word then we will not topple when the storm of persecution hits us hard. God will be with us and enable us to stand firm and steadfast and to testify about Him and to the kingdom He is coming back to establish (Luke 21:12-19).

Go to Study No. 7