1 Peter 1:22–23 (MEV): Since your souls have been purified by obedience to the truth through the Spirit unto a genuine brotherly love, love one another deeply with a pure heart, for you have been born again, not from perishable seed, but imperishable, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.
Since your souls have been purified… You’ve already believed and it is accounted to you for righteousness. This is the message of faith that was demonstrated for us by the patriarchs. They are the ones who fell far short of the mark, but believed God and He made up the difference.
Obedience to the truth.
There are times that we want to conflate this idea of obedience with law-keeping and morality. That is not what Peter is speaking of, clearly. He uses the phrase and places the objective of obedience to truth. He spoke of that immediately preceding this: “Through Him you believe in God who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope might be in God.” (1 Peter 1:21)
Obedience to the truth is believing in God.
It comes through the witness of the Holy Spirit. Seriously, without His working even before we believed, there is no real hope for us. It is the Holy Spirit Who has orchestrated the events in our lives to reveal Jesus to each of us in a real way. And can I say… In these last times?
It’s like how Peter expressed it at the beginning of the epistle. Even though his intended audience is to Jewish people who are scattered throughout the world at that time, there are important things we can glean. Especially in the very season we find ourselves.
It is this work of the Holy Spirit that reveals Jesus to us, and continues to lead us toward sanctifition. He leads us to Jesus and once we believe, He patiently works to sanctify us.
1 Peter 1:1–2 (MEV): Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To the refugees scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification by the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
There is a purpose for sanctification. It is purposed for you. That is why the word elect (or chosen) is used. It is purpose.
The objective is obedience and sprinkling with the blood of Jesus. These two ideas go together. Just as I offered before, this obedience isn’t to the law, or even good morals. But it is to the truth. By being obedient to that truth, you sins are covered by the sprinkling of Jesus’ blood.
Because of these truths, it leads us to holy living. That we may be used to be a witness for others.
This will be expanded upon a bit later in the epistle. For now, understand that our salvation has brought us adaption into the family of God. You and I have a brother, Jesus. He is the perfect example of brotherly love.
He asks us to love others with a pure heart. Remember, if you’re saved your souls are already purified. And because you know brotherly love from Jesus, it isn’t difficult to extend that love to other brothers and sisters in the faith.
Listen, our hearts separate from God seek to alleviate our own discomfort and seeking our own comfort. With a pure heart, we esteem others before ourselves putting their needs before our own. Just as Jesus did for us.
You have been born again.
There is a reason certain analogies are used. This idea of being born again may seem old-fashioned. I certainly hope it isn’t. It’s a very clear way to teach a truth.
Peter is saying we’ve been born again with imperishable seed. He contrasts that idea with our natural birth into the human being we are. He notes that birth comes from perishable seed. That means it is will not last. We know that, as we are born dying.
But unlike our natural birth, our new birth is from imperishable seed. That means there is no corruption. There is no death in that birth. Praise Jesus!
There is another truth that undergirds all of this. A person, once born can never become unborn. One born from perishable seed can never have that birth undone. Such may perish, but that doesn’t undo the birth. The same is true for our new birth. It cannot be undone. Because that birth comes from imperishable seed, there is no corruption or death.
If you think I am saying you cannot lose your salvation. I am not. Peter is, in holy writ revealed to him by the Holy Spirit.
The Word of God lives and abides forever.
Does it live in you?
If it does… It lives forever! It abides forever!
1 Peter 1:24–25 (MEV): For
“All flesh is as grass,
and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.
The grass withers, and its flower falls away,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
This is the word that was preached to you.
The temptation is to think of the flesh as Gnostics do… But this is vitally different. It’s not that the flesh is made bad. It has been made corrupt, having inherited that from the disobedience of Adam. Death is passed on.
Romans 5:12 (MEV): Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, so death has spread to all men, because all have sinned.
This flesh will pass away. Everything that we do here and in that capacity is going to pass away. It’s the word of the Lord that abides forever.
That is precisely why Peter is calling us to holy living. We know that our Father will judge impartially. We are just passing through this world. It has many snares for us, all which are vain and lead to perishable rewards.
It’s this higher calling that has everlasting benefit. Holy living doesn’t earn you much in itself, but it points others to Jesus. In that is much benefit.