Since you have purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth,so that you show sincere brotherly love for each other, from a pure heart love one another constantly, 23 because you have been born again—not of perishable seed but of imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God. – 1 Peter 1:22-23
I’m a killer of plants. Joanna Gaines seems like a superhuman to me with her ability to keep plants green, living, and better yet flourishing. I thought it would be great idea to get an olive tree for inside my home a couple of weeks ago. One because I am Cuban and we love our olive oil,and two because olive trees are all throughout the bible; therefore its the perfect combination right? Well much like the trees Jesus would use in his parables, my tree isn’t producing any fruit. I have a couple branches that are still holding on and flourishing but in all honesty its look more like the cursed fig tree than the tree of life.
I’ve thought about swapping it out for another plant, that will more than likely find its fate just like the olive tree, but for now its proving to be a physical reminder to me each time I pass it of the reality of growth, fruit, and need for life.
As we step into the next couple of days of the SBC18 I find myself thinking on Peter’s words in his first letter and there are a couple truths we can take away from these three short verses.
Peter intertwines purification, with truth and obedience. The more that we pour ourselves over the Truth of God’s Word we then find ourselves walking in obedience and becoming more like Him. Truth and obedience often go together in Scripture.
R.C. Sproul says, “The more our souls are involved in obedience, the greater the purification that occurs, and the more our souls are purified, the greater our obedience will be. This is not a vicious circle but a glorious circle by which obedience feeds purification and, symbiotically, purification feeds obedience.”
God’s Word is the very thing we need to breathe in and out, not for the sake of being the smartest or to get an argument right, but for the benefit of our very souls. Are we considering the whole scope of God’s Truth or just the parts that we feel passionate about to get our point across? We hold the truth of certain doctrines high, but then we fail at showing patience. We hold to the truth of inerrancy but we overlook the truth of gentleness. We fight for the truth of character and integrity while mercy and compassion never fill our words or thoughts. Are we considering, chasing, chiseling our hearts toward God’s whole meta-narrative or only the pieces that line up with our agenda?
God’s Word has a way of showing us all of the dead areas of our souls and we need to be mindful that our need for Truth is a daily and regular essential to living out the Gospel we herald so proudly. We have to preach the need to ourselves before we go on and preach it to others.
Both Greek words “philadelphia” and “agapeo” are used in this text, to remind us of the love that holds us and the love that binds us. As people who are changed and purified by God’s Truth, we in response inadvertently have a love for one another, both a brotherly and a God like love. This means we are full of compassion and grace striving for the good of our brothers and sisters over our own. The call to sacrifice our own good for the person next to us.
Are we able to say that our hearts are showing and exhibiting the love of Jesus not only to the outside world, but to our own family? With the SBC this week, there is much to say and decide on, but my hope is that it will be done in unity, honor, and brotherly love.
We have lost the art of disagreeing with one another. Furthermore we have lost the art of listening. I know I am fairly new to the scene, but it has been quite evident that we are willing to sacrifice a fellow brother on the alter of one agendas than we are to pray for, listen to, and love them. You can disagree and still be loving. You can be passionate about your view and still be for your sister. Why? Because we have been born again into the same family with the same hope.
I can’t hear this verse not think of Dr. Criswell’s voice slowly and deeply drawing out the words. The original context (Isaiah 40) of this verse was being spoken to the people of Israel who were in need of great comfort and encouragement. Here in 1 Peter the church was facing incredible persecution and discouragement. Today, although not under persecution, I think we can find ourselves in need of some of the same encouragement.
Our hope is only in a holy God. He is the one who rebirths a broken soul. He graciously tunes our hearts toward His glory despite out own scraping for significance through menial and temporal measures. We are a moment, a breathe, a fleeting vapor as James says. How convicting and humbling.!In a world where everyone is trying to gain a platform and influence, we are reminded that all the efforts of trying to matter are for a mere instant in the grand scheme of life. The flower’s glory will ultimately fall, but the Word of God is forever.
When you and I remember that we aren’t God and we are only on this planet for a short amount of time it should compel us forward in grace, truth, and love. We have work to do, and we have to be about heralding a message that goes far past systems and preferences, and be about the glory of God, loving our brother/sister, and proclaiming His glory to a broken world.
My olive tree may not make it past this summer, but it’s serving as a physical reminder of of the different ‘seeds’. Everything here on earth is fading away, but the Kingdom of God is steady, faithful, and only hope.
I am hopeful for this week because I know that God’s Word is True, His love is deep, and His people and mission can not be squelched. Lets remember we are fleeting. Let us feed on the Word of God, and have the courage to have Him purify the areas where our hearts are in disobedience.
“True love for one another flows out of a living and invincible hope in God.”- John Piper