I love books. I must admit I am a bibliophile. When new books arrive at my doorstep, I cannot wait to share pictures on social media of my additions and especially look forward to adding them to my library and placing them on my bookshelf. My purpose is purchasing books, though, is not to make them decorations on a bookshelf. My intention in buying books is to read them. In a similar fashion, Christians, those who have repented of their sins and have trusted in Christ for salvation, are not born again to be saved and to sit around. We cannot earn our salvation by good works but good works are an evidence of our salvation. That is why our hope in the gospel should produce holiness in our actions, words, and thoughts (1:13-21). What we are are talking about here is spiritual growth in the Christian life, also known as “sanctification”. Peter speaks of this when he says to the believers “having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth”. These believers (1:1) did not receive salvation because they were pure and were fully obedient. Rather, as those in Christ they can pursue purity and they can strive for obedience, not for salvation but because they have received salvation, having the power of the Holy Spirit. How does obedience display itself? It displays itself in the command to love, “love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (1:22b). This love is not a generic love either. It is a specific and Christian “brotherly” love (1:22a). A love without wrong motives. A love selfless. A love that honors God and helps others while humbling self. This is the love God calls for His children to show. He has not saved them to sit on the sidelines and watch the game. He has called for the born again to show love. The command of love comes with the basis for the command: “since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1:23). The basis of our command to love is our eternal salvation found in the living and abiding word of God! We cannot love like this in our own power. We would and do fall and fail, but God does not. His word remains forever and He has saved us so that we may dwell with Him forever and show love to one another. We can know love because He has loved us. This is the good news we have heard (1:25) and we must preach. We are born again to love.
- How do you understand what God calls you to do in living the Christian life? How is that informed by the Bible?
- Consider this week how you can show love that honors God, helps others, and humbles self.