TEEN TREE OF LIFE

Fervently Love One Another From the Heart - Part 2

October 23, 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.”

 

First, let’s read a passage from Scripture in 1PETER 1, starting in verse 22;

 

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)

 

 

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.” (1 PET 1:14-16 New American Standard Bible)

 

Now, let’s pick up where we ended last week with two words used by the apostle Peter in 1 PET 1. First is the word purification which is used in 1 PET 1:22-25 and second is the word holy in 1 PET 1:14-16. These two words share a common thread. Purification begins at Salvation when a person is born-again by believing in The Person and Work of The Lord Jesus Christ. It is at that point in time that they are also set apart to God – made holy – and become a new creature in Christ. Peter ties this purification of the soul directly to obedience to the truth.

 

Philosophers have always had a hard time figuring out The Truth because their basis for determining it is the musings of men instead of The Revealed Word of God, The Creator of the Heavens and Earth. That is why in JOH 18:37-38 (New International Reader’s Version), we read: So you are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, that’s the reason I was born. I was born and came into the world to be a witness to the truth. Everyone who is on the side of truth listens to me.” “What is truth?” Pilate replied. Then Pilate went out again to the Jews gathered there. He said, “I find no basis for any charge against him.

 

Truth is determined by God The Father who is The God of Truth: Into Your hand I entrust my spirit; You have redeemed me, Lord, God of truth. (PSA 31:5 New American Standard Bible) The Lord Jesus Christ is The Way, The Truth and The Life. The Holy Spirit is The Spirit of Truth. The Revelation The Triune God has given to man in His Word is Truth.

 

Obedience to Truth does not support by any means any form of works-based salvation or holiness, for again, Peter ties purification here to being of the soul and not outward conformity to any religious ritual. Jesus tied obedience to love for God in JOH 15:15 (The Message Bible): “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.”

 

The ties between love for Jesus Christ, obedience to His Word, and purification of the soul are obvious. The soul that loves God will keep His Word, and the soul that obeys God’s Word will live according to the purity God has commanded, out of love for God. Peter states that the souls to whom he was writing had been purified and they were continuing to pursue living in holiness because they were obedient to The Truth of God’s Word. The result of this was a sincere love of the brethren: 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(1 PET 1:22 New American Standard Bible) The word “sincere” here means to be without pretense, or deceit and therefore, something that is genuine, sincere, and authentic.

 

Brotherly love here – (philadelphia in the Greek) – is a compound word that joins together the words for the love of a friend and brother and so describes the close, loving friendship of siblings that deeply care about each other. There is a strong emotional bond in this kind of love. This word is used by both Peter, Paul, and the writer of Hebrews to describe the relationship fellow believers should have with one another.

 

Look at ROM 12:10 (New American Standard Bible): Be devoted to one another in brotherly love… The use of this term of family relationship is appropriate between fellow Christians because we have been adopted into God’s Family, resulting in us becoming siblings to one another. This sincere brotherly love discussed in 1 PET 1, which results from holy living in obedience to the truth, is a strong bond of genuine friendship between believers because we’re brothers and sisters to each other in Christ.

 

We have all experienced friendships that in the end turned out to be fake. We find out the relationship came out of the other person wanting something from us – instead of wanting genuine care and concern for each other. Such a false friendship ends when its usefulness stops. Selfishness and arrogance can destroy any kind of friendship because the humility and forgiveness needed to overcome the normal conflicts that arise in relationships don’t exist. Tragically, that even happens between actual siblings. Blood may be thicker than water, but it is not thicker than selfishness.

 

The friendships we have within the church family can be as close or even closer than with genetic siblings because of both the foundation of our common bond in Christ and our common pursuit of holiness in obedience to the truth of God (as Peter pointed out). Family relationships can be strained for all sorts of reasons related ultimately to selfishness and arrogance which can be encouraged by other family members who repeat gossip or take sides. We only become part of the church – The Body of Christ – through humility and faith in The Person and Work of Jesus Christ. That enables us to continue to be humble in acknowledging our sins, failures, and spiritual immaturity, even as we continue to mature by walking in The Spirit according to an increasing understanding of The Lord’s Will through His Word. That is why this pursuit of holiness in obedience to the truth will result in the sincere brotherly love of other Christians, and especially so if they are doing the same. Humility and forgiveness allow us to overcome both the strains and selfishness that are common to any relationship. And our common bond to Jesus Christ gives us a mutual interest that is much stronger than any other kind of interest that can be part of living in this world, including family, culture, work, hobbies or politics. The Christian submits each of those to Christ and therefore welcomes correction and change to their ideas about and involvement in them in pursuit of God’s will.

 

Peter escalates this in the command in the next phrase which is the key to the sentence, “Fervently love one another from the heart.“Fervently” here refers to an intensity or perseverance in action. Love here is the love that sets itself to pursue the best interest of the other person even at its own sacrifice. It may or may not have an emotional element. It is the love God demonstrated in giving His Only Begotten Son to die on The Cross so that “whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.(JOH 3:16, ROM 5:8)

 

It is the love that Christians should have for one another which is found in JOH 13:34 (New International Reader’s Version): “I give you a new command. Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you.” We should even have this love for our enemies: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor. (Leviticus 19:18) Hate your enemy.’ But here is what I tell you. Love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. Then you will be children of your Father who is in heaven. He causes his sun to shine on evil people and good people. He sends rain on those who do right and those who don’t.” (MATT 5:43–45 New International Reader’s Version)

{to be continued}

Scroll to Top