Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding 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,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you. – 1 Peter 1:22-25
A conversation the other day about Easter hymns reminded me of an early experience in the Baptist church which we attended growing up. “Love Lifted Me!” is a hymn about our state apart from Jesus’ redemption and our conversion to faith in him.
Peter is clear here: The love of God has motivated him to redeem us, cause us to be born again, and inspired in us a brotherly love for one another.
We have been born again by the power of God’s word. We have purified our souls by obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love. In other words, God’s word has made its way into our hearts and by God’s power we have aligned our lives with that truth. It is a truth from and for brotherly love.
Love is not only cause of God’s grace to us in Jesus Christ. Love is also the supreme expression of faithfulness to God. Jesus taught that love for God and love for neighbor are the two most important commandments of God. Paul says that love is the fulfillment of the law (cf. Romans 13:10).
God’s love is always mediated through people. It was most fully expressed in Jesus’ life, teaching, suffering, death, and resurrection. But whenever we express love to others, we are also mediating God’s love. Our high privilege is not only to be loved, but to love one another, and by that lifting others out of the troubles and despair of sin.