Thursday: Love One Another

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Peter next steers Christians to the ultimate expression of what living a holy and faithful life will be like.

Read 1 Peter 1:22-25. What crucial point is he making here about what it means to be a Christian?

Peter’s starting point is that Christians are already purified (“Seeing ye have purified . . .”), and are living in obedience to the truth (1 Pet. 1:22). The verb “purify” or “cleanse” is closely related to the words holy and holiness, which link back to what Peter wrote a few verses earlier (1 Pet. 1:15).

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Through their commitment to Jesus, and through their baptism (compare 1 Pet. 3:21-22), Christians have purified themselves by setting themselves aside for God, and they do this by obeying the truth.

This change in their lives has the natural consequence so that they now find themselves in a close relationship with others who share a similar worldview. These relationships are so close that Peter uses the language of family to describe them. Christians are to act out of brotherly and sisterly love. The Greek word used in 1 Peter 1:22, when he talks about the “love of the brethren,” philadelphia, means literally “love of brother/sister.” It is the love that families have for one another.

There are several different words in Greek that are translated “love”: philia (friendship), eros (the passionate love of a husband and wife), agape (a pure love that seeks the good of the other). The word Peter uses when he writes “love one another fervently” (1 Pet. 1:22, NKJV) is linked to agape-which usually means the pure love that seeks the good of others. That’s certainly why he added the phrase to love one another “with a pure heart” (1 Pet. 1:22, NKJV), the kind of heart that comes from being “born again” (1 Pet. 1:23; see also 1 Pet. 1:3) through the incorruptible Word of God. This kind of love comes only from God; it’s not what a selfish, self-centered unregenerate heart will manifest, which is surely why Peter puts such an emphasis on being purified and on “obeying the truth” (1 Pet. 1:22). The truth is not just something believed; it must be lived.

How can we learn to be more loving? What choices must we make in order to be able to manifest the kind of love that comes from a “pure heart”?

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