World English Bible translation
1:22Seeing you have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth through the Spirit in sincere brotherly affection, love one another from the heart fervently: 1:23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and remains forever. 1:24 For,
"All flesh is like grass,
And all of man's glory like the flower in the grass.
The grass withers, and its flower falls;
1:25But the Lord's word endures forever."
This is the word of good news which was preached to you.
Peter has laid the theological groundwork for all that will follow in the epistle. There is much more that he will write to them that they will need to know about God and the blessings that He has in store for them if they endure the hardships that are to come. For now he turns to the application that he would like them to make of these things in their own lives. He has told them that by enduring hardships their faith would be proven genuine. He has told them that the precious blood of the Lamb of God redeemed them. And he has also told them that they must wait for the completion of their inheritance that would come to them when Jesus Christ was revealed in glory.
Now he would speak to them about how they must live during the difficult days that are to come. He tells them that since they have already obeyed the truth through the Spirit of God they must go beyond their sincere brotherly affection and love one another fervently from the heart. Their brotherly affection had developed because they had come to God together and had begun to form the bonds of a Christian community. But affection does not hold people together during times of trial and stress. What these Christians needed to endure was to develop the deep love for one another that only God could place in their hearts. Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man but that he lay down his life for his brother." This was the fervent love that would be required to overcome the adversity that they would have to face.
Peter tells them that they are capable of this fervent love because they have been born again by an incorruptible seed, the word of God. This word loves and remains forever and it is the seed that has been planted into their hearts. Because of the word of God that the Spirit has given them, they are capable of loving one another as fervently as would be required. Only those that are born again by the Spirit of God can love in the fashion that Peter in writing about. Even those born again must strengthen their love and go beyond brotherly love in order to achieve it.
Peter contrasts their old lives by this abiding word of God. He quotes from Isaiah; "All flesh is like grass… But the Lord's word endures forever." It is true that God was asking them to give up their old life for a new one. But the old life is brief. All of man's glory is like the flower of the grass. It blooms for a while and then it is swiftly gone. At first life seems like it will last forever, but as we age we realize that life is flying by swiftly. Years pass swiftly and soon we find that all be have been working towards has already faded. The best years of our lives are brief and fleeting.
But what God would have to offer us is a life that endures forever. When we have been born again of incorruptible seed, we need not regret the passing of the years. We have an inheritance with the Lord that is kept in heaven. The Lord has promised, it is incorruptible and undefiled because it is kept by the power of God. Unlike the grass that withers and falls, the word of the Lord endures forever.
Peter begins his admonition to these Christians by saying to them; first you must love one anther fervently. Love is the basis of the Christian experience. God is love. If we would experience the life of God, we too, must love. If we are to endure the trials of this life we must be holy because God is holy. And we must love deeply because God loves deeply.
Have you experienced the love of God in your life? And are you willing to show that love to those God gives you?
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