GRACE TO SUFFER FOR CHRIST
The Power of God’s Word
1 Peter 1:22-2:3
Jerry A Collins
v Does the Word of God make a difference in our relationships?
v What attitudes hinder our relationships with believers?
v Why is the Word of God central to our lives?
A love letter lament: Dearest Jimmie, No words could ever express the great unhappiness I have felt since breaking our engagement. Please say you will take me back. No one could ever take your place in my heart, so please forgive me. I love you, I love you, I love you. Yours forever, Marie. P.S. And congratulations on winning the state lottery. One of the two commands in our passage is the command to fervently love one another from the heart vs 22. The other is to long for the pure milk of the Word 2:2. They are joining a new community, a new race, a new family, and they must pursue a life consistent with their new association. The Word by which they have been ‘born again’ is the same Word by which they must ‘grow up’ spiritually. Four times the Word is mentioned making note that it is central to all we are and must become. (1) The living and abiding Word of God 23. (2) The Word of the Lord abides forever 25. (3) The Word preached to you 25. The Word that by it you may grow 2:2. The Word of God is likened to ‘seed’ and to ‘milk’. So believers must strip themselves not of clothes but like shedding clothes, unloving behavior & then crave the Word of God that has the power to transform you.
1. LOVE ONE ANOTHER DEEPLY FROM THE HEART
Obervation: 1 Peter 1:22-2:1
Obedience to the truth 22a The obedience referred to here is the obedience of faith. That is, the acceptance of the Gospel. The truth they obeyed was the Word of God—the same Word, the good news that had been proclaimed to them. This Word does not disappoint but is truth and as such, the source of security in our lives. It all boils down to this in the words of the writers of scripture. Obey and trust.
Purified your souls 22b The purification of their souls came by means of obeying the truth. So now they stand in a completely cleansed condition or state. They have been made clean spiritually. Obeying the truth produces a cleansed state of being (Psa 119:9). Our salvation brings an initial purification of our souls as God imputes Jesus Christ’s righteousness to our account by means of my obedience to the gospel proclaimed to me. My initial purification continues to alter my soul as I continue to obey His Word. My life demonstrates changes that only can be explained by God’s work in my life as I obey in faith. The world can be a dirty place to live in. It can pollute my soul, alter my behavior so I must ‘take off’ the old way by confession and repentance and ‘put on’ the new by obeying.
Sincere, fervent, deep love 22c So here is a specific action with a note of urgency. Love one another and do that earnestly not lightly. Be zealous about this and strain after it. Don’t be a hypocrite about it. This kind of deep and sincere loving can only come about from a heart that has been transformed by the reality of what that heart believes and obeys. So the purpose of the purification of our souls is that we love one another sincerely (1 Cor 13). This is all over the NT. God is very clear about the basis of the relationships within His family (Jn 13:24-25; , 17; Ro 12:10; 13:8; 1 Pt 4:8; 1 Jn 3:11, 23; 4:7. 11-12; 2 Jn 1:5). We have an obligation to deeply love one another. So we cannot ‘cut and run’ because of hurt feelings or misunderstandings. We cannot shirk our loving responsibility to one another by giving to serve their best interests without regard for myself.
Our love as lasting as the Word which saved us 23-25 (1) We were regenerated by an eternal seed 23. This transformation that purifies us and enables us to love one another deeply is not decaying but lives and remains all the way to the end and into eternity. So our love for one another should be just as alive and abiding. There are no excuses. (2) This is supported by quoting Isa 40:6-8 in vs 24-25a. All human accomplishment, any fleshly deeds will only wither, dry up and fall off just like the rapid blooming and withering flower and fields. But that Word of God that formed the content of Peter’s preaching vs 12, endures forever. There is no short-lived outcome with it. So our deep, fervent, sincere love for one another is as enduring as the Word which was preached to us, purified in us when we obeyed it’s gospel truth.
Put off attitudes causing relational ruptures 2:1 So implicit in the command to fervently love is the need to rid myself of behavior that is hostile to loving one another. He lists five of these attitudes each if left unchecked will rupture relationships with one another contrary to what we have been told. (1) Take off wickedness or malice. Do not hope for the downfall of one another. (2) Take off cunning and trickery. Do not distort the truth or
oppose the truth by misleading. (3) Take off pretense. Do not play act or appear one thing when really you feel or believe another. (4) Take off envy. Do not hold a grudge at site of another’s advantage. (5) Take off slander. Do not ‘run down’ another you have made yourself jealous of. Make a break with your past and out these attitudes out of your life. You will never love one another unless you do.
2. KEEP LONGING TO GROW IN GOD’S WORD
Observation: 1 Peter 2:2-3
It’s time for nourishment 2 Newborn babies who crave their milk illustrates our need to crave with the same eagerness and longing of a baby for it’s milk, God’s Word. So we are not only regenerated and purified and born again by obeying the gospel truth proclaimed to us, we are also nurtured to grow up by means of that same Word. God commands us to develop this appetite. This word is without deceit he tells us. It is not contaminated in any way and will provide healthy nourishment to us for all of our lives and in every dimension of our lives. It will cause us to grow up. Do you put out the welcome mat for the Word of God? James says receive the Word and you do that by proving to be a doer of the Word and not merely a hearer of it. This growth is the ultimate fulfillment of our salvation spoken of in 1:5, 7, 9, and 13.
The kindness of God 3 Here is an argument which accepts the reality of the condition—namely, that you have tasted the goodness of the Lord in your life. This is a quote from Psa 34:8 likening believers present knowledge of Christ to tasting which picks up the milk analogy used in vs 2. Having taken a sample of the grace of God when they obeyed the truth and souls were regenerated, they had found that the Lord was good. They have already tasted and they have already sampled all God has supplied for them in their salvation. So keep going all of the way. Keep loving one another deeply and keep growing in the Word of God.
1. Loving one another is not an option in God’s family. Loving one another is hard work. It’s not just feeling good about each other it is looking out for each other’s greater good. God never excuses us from sincerely and constantly loving one another in Christ.
2. We must nurture and cultivate a desire for the Word of God. God has given us a Word to feast and feed upon. It is the living Word alive today. It is the only means of growth for us as believers. Sadly, today post-modern thinking within the church is replacing the Word since it is not believed to be sufficient or sole authority. The Word is used but not taught.