TEEN TREE OF LIFE

Fervently Love One Another From the Heart - Part 1

October 16, 2022

 

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

1PE 1:22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, “All flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, And the flower falls off, 25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.  (1 PET 1:22-25 New American Standard Bible)

 

THE FIRST LETTER OF PETER is only five chapters long, but it is packed full of great theological truths and applications of them. The purpose of Peter’s letter is to prepare the church in Asia Minor for the persecution that was rising after Nero burned Rome and blamed Christians for it. In this first chapter, Peter is seeking to comfort and reassure them in the midst of the distress they were already experiencing from the trials they were facing.

 

It’s important to be aware of the fact that there is only one source that can bring both comfort and reassurance when there is suffering, and that is Our Sovereign God. Sovereignty is The Attribute of God that describes His Supreme Authority and Rule over all He creates. Please note that it takes The Sovereignty of God to bring both comfort and reassurance. A compassionate god can bring comfort, and God is Compassionate, but unless He is Sovereign, too, that comfort can only lessen or alleviate the pain experienced. Such a god could not give meaning to its existence or create hope beyond it. But Our Sovereign God can because He can still accomplish His Will in working out all things together for good.

 

Look at what the apostle Paul wrote in ROM 8:28 (New American Standard Bible): And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. And His working out all things together for good includes the evil that people do to one another and the suffering that occurs from living in a sin-cursed world. Our Sovereign God gives Hope for the future that transcends whatever is being experienced in the present because He will absolutely fulfill His Promises. We can always trust what He has revealed in His Word about Himself and His Will.

 

Because God is Sovereign, you can be assured that He will perfect The Good Work He began in you until The Day of Christ Jesus. Look at what Paul wrote: God began a good work in you. And I am sure that he will carry it on until it is completed. That will be on the day Christ Jesus returns. (PHIL 1:6 New International Reader’s Version) At the time of our salvation, God begins His Work in us. We are made alive in Christ — regenerated, made new: When anyone lives in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone! The new is here! (2 COR 5:17 New International Reader’s Version) Then, through an ongoing, lifelong process called sanctification, God finishes, perfects, and completes His Work in us.

 

Sanctification means to be set apart for God. It is a technical, theological term for the status quo of The Royal Family of God in three phases of the Pre-Designed Plan of God. Sanctification in phases one and three is attained at the moment of salvation, however, sanctification in phase two requires many positive decisions for The Plan of God. Positional sanctification is having Eternal Security. There is no way you can ever get out of your relationship with God. Experiential sanctification is residence, function, and momentum inside The Pre-Designed Plan of God. Ultimate sanctification is the believer in his or her Resurrection Body in the Eternal State. Paul referred to the process in PHIL 1:6 (above). Spiritual growth ought to continue in faithful believers until the day Jesus Christ returns.

 

Absolutely nothing can separate us from God’s Love which is in Christ Jesus: Then who can sentence us to death? No one. Christ Jesus is at the right hand of God and is also praying for us. He died. More than that, he was raised to life. Who can separate us from Christ’s love? Can trouble or hard times or harm or hunger? Can nakedness or danger or war? (ROM 8:34-35 New International Reader’s Version) You can also be assured that Jesus Christ will give Eternal Life to you so that you never perish and no one can take you from His hand. This is said by The Lord Jesus Christ Himself in JOHN 10:28 (New International Reader’s Version): I give them eternal life, and they will never die. No one will steal them out of my hand. Now, because God is Sovereign, He had a purpose behind the trials that were testing the faith of those who were part of the church in Asia Minor. And out of His Sovereignty, He would bring them through the persecution that was increasing by the minute.

 

Now remember, we are still responsible to respond to what God is doing, and Peter also makes that clear. God’s work, with the believers of the church in Asia Minor, resulted in their obedience of faith to Jesus Christ; their living hope; their faith for salvation; their belief in Jesus Christ though they did not see Him now; and their belief that God raised His Son from the dead. Peter also makes it clear that they were living in a manner that demonstrated the reality of God’s Work in them and their resulting beliefs. This included rejoicing in the midst of their trials and bringing praise, glory, and honor to Christ; loving Christ; girding their minds for action; being sober and fixing their hope on God’s Grace; being obedient children who pursued holiness instead of their former worldly lusts; and conducting themselves in proper respect for God during this life.

 

Now, let’s look more closely at the verse quoted at the beginning of this study (see top of page 1) - 1 PET 1:22-25 (New American Standard Bible) which gives us an additional manner of life that was to characterize the church in Asia Minor. The command given here is that they were to “fervently love one another from the heart.” The basis of that love was the fact that their “obedience to the truth purified” their “souls for a sincere love.” This was a result of them being born-again through The Living and Enduring Word of God which had been preached to them. As we move forward in this study, we will look at what it means to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. And we will examine each element in this passage that lays the foundation for this and how it is brought about. Bear in mind that we’ll look at each element in this passage but won’t separate them from the command to love to which they are tied.

 

Peter begins his thoughts here by pointing out the condition of the believers of the church in Asia Minor as a result of their proper response to what God revealed to them in His Word. He states, “you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls.” The word “soul,” though often translated as “life” in the bible, refers to the essence that is truly you, and that is currently housed in your physical body. The Greek word zōā is used for physical life. The soul is your inner self, your mind, your thoughts, your feelings, your heart, and your being. Peter explains the condition of their souls as having been purified. They were purified in the past and they are continuing in that same condition at the present time, in relationship to their obedience to the truth. This purification is a reference to moral holiness and is tied directly to the command in verse 1 PET 1:14-16 (New American Standard Bible) which says: As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

 

The word purification in 1 PET 1:22-25 and the word holy in 1 PET 1:14-16 share a common root word and meaning. The manner of life is to be set apart to God and away from the world. Purification begins at salvation when a person is born-again to repent from sin and self and to place their faith in The Person and Work of The Lord Jesus Christ. It is at that point in time that they are set apart to God – made holy – and they become a new creature in Christ (see 2 COR 5:17 above) being converted to have a new mind and life which continues in the present and into the future as the individual becomes more conformed to the image of Christ.

 

The individual is actively involved in this purification as 2 PET 1:3-8 (New International Reader’s Version) points out: God’s power has given us everything we need to lead a godly life. All of this has come to us because we know the God who chose us. He chose us because of his own glory and goodness. He has also given us his very great and valuable promises. He did it so you could share in his nature. You can share in it because you’ve escaped from the evil in the world. This evil is caused by sinful desires. So you should try very hard to add goodness to your faith. To goodness, add knowledge. To knowledge, add the ability to control yourselves. To the ability to control yourselves, add the strength to keep going. To the strength to keep going, add godliness. To godliness, add kindness for one another. And to kindness for one another, add love. All these things should describe you more and more. They will make you useful and fruitful as you know our Lord Jesus Christ better.

{to be continued}

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