We’ve all seen or are familiar with the Pixar movie “The Incredibles” who is a family superheroes born with super human abilities such as strength (Mr. Incredible), elasticity (Elastigirl), disappearing and force fields (Violet), speed (Dash) and the baby, Jack-Jack, who can change into all kinds of crazy things. This family is pretty awesome.
While this family is pretty incredible, there is a family that is even more awesome. It is the family of God, of which you and I belong by our faith in Jesus Christ. If we had to be given a name we could be called “The Incorruptibles.” Notice Peter three times in this first chapter tells us that through Christ we partake in an incorruptible salvation and its promises. Those three places are:
Verses 3-4 says that God has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
Verses 18-19 says, knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of lamb without blemish and without spot.
Verse 23 says, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.
These three incorruptibles are an incorruptible inheritance, an incorruptible redemption and an incorruptible word by which we are born again.
Just as “The Incredibles” from birth those superheroes can do some amazing things, the same is true for you and I. Because we are born again we are empowered to do supernatural things. Things that are impossible for someone who is not part of the incorruptibles.
We have seen a couple of these things so far, we learned that we can bless God and have joy even in the midst of trials and tribulations. We are to be holy as God is Holy. Tonight we learn that we are to love one another fervently with a pure heart.
Tonight as we focus on walking in love as pilgrims of Jesus Christ well learn two things.
First the basis for walking in love and second our motivation to walking in love.
First in verse 1:22-3:1 we learn the basis for walking in love.
22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
Peter begins with a command to love one another with a pure heart.
Notice the basis of our love comes from our salvation which he already explained previously in this chapter.
In these verses Peter described our salvation as the purification of our souls. Before we were saved we were dead in sin, we were filthy and stinky based on the fact that our souls and spirit were dominated by our decaying flesh. Paul called it a wretched man!
The means of our purification is obedience to the truth through the Spirit. Obedience to the truth does not imply that we are saved by works, rather it refers to putting our faith in the truth refers to the gospel. The gospel as we will see in verses 23-25 comes from the eternal word of God.
For now we know that Peter has faith in the gospel in mind because in Acts
15:8-9 he said, So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them (Gentiles) by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
It is by faith or obedience to the gospel that our souls are purified. But this act of faith or our salvation is not originated or accomplished by man, but it is by the Spirit (John 1:12-13). From beginning to end our salvation is a work of God’s grace and Spirit.
We are drawn to Christ by His Spirit and grace. We are convicted of sin righteousness and judgment. We are made alive and cleaned by the indwelling Holy Spirit now which lives in us (John 14,16).
The result of our salvation is for the sincere love of the brethren. We are not saved by loving others, we are saved to love others. In other words loving others is evidence that we have obeyed the truth through the Spirit.
This truth is not unique to Peter we are taught this through out the New Testament.
Jesus says in John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Paul says in Galatians 5:22 that the fruit of the Spirit is love.
Also the Apostle John says three times in his epistle that loving others is evidence of our salvation.
1 John 2:9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
1 John 3:14 says, We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.
1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
After Peter in verse 22 gives the nature of our salvation, the means and the result he gives a straight forward command in light of what we just learned. The command is to love one another fervently with a pure heart. I love that the result of our salvation and the command that we have in light of our salvation is basically the same thing said a different way. Which means that we have the conviction and ability to accomplish this command.
Let’s take a moment and explore this command. Put simply Peter says we were born again to love so we are to get to it! We are to love one another in sincerity which means which means without hypocrisy. Our love is not to phony but real and genuine.
Also our love is to be from a pure heart. This obviously implies loving others without wrong motives. Rather we are to love because we have been purified by Christ who loved us so much.
Loving from a pure heart can also be used as a way to point us to Christ who was the greatest example of what it was to love from a pure heart.
This love from a pure heart is seen in 1 Corinthians 13 in which we learn that love suffers long, is kind, does not envy, does not envy, does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but in truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things endures all things. Love never fails.
This is the love that Christ demonstrated when He walked this earth. This love was not something that He worked up, but it was something that flowed out of Him. It was a result to the abiding of the Spirit of God.
You and I are not God, nor will we be perfect as we walk this earth as a human like Christ. But we do have the abiding Holy Spirit like Christ. God like He did in and through Christ wants to fill us with His love and cause us to overflow to love others.
This is something supernatural something that only our family of incorruptible can do, because you must be born again.
Peter at the beginning of verse 22 talked about the truth or gospel that saved us, now in verses 23-25 he is going to expand our understanding of the gospel.
23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
24 because “ALL FLESH IS AS GRASS, AND ALL THE GLORY OF MAN AS THE FLOWER OF THE GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND ITS FLOWER FALLS AWAY, 25 BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.
All human life is conceived by natural processes through man’s corruptible seed. Starting with our grandfather Adam sin is passed on through man, this is called the inherited sin nature. As a result of our inherited sin nature all men are born with a depraved nature and destined to die.
Peter gives an illustration to support his statement in verse 23. Peter’s illustration was Isaiah 40:6-8 that would have been familiar to his Jewish audience.
The corruptibility of man is described as the withering of a beautiful flower and the grass of the field. Whether we are talking about natural beauty or worldly accomplishments just like a flower they have their time under the sun yet over time they fade and are blown away and not remembered any more.
Just like the grass of the field human life springs up but like a vapor, life goes by and it is soon gone.
Yet in contrast natural birth the gospel which is found in the word of God is the incorruptible and eternal seed. Faith in the gospel gives us eternal life, is causes us to be born again and have a relationship with God.
1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,
Once again we see based on our eternal salvation we have a reasonable response. Peter begins chapter 2 by saying, “Therefore.” This means that Peter is summing up and apply what was previously said.
Because we have an eternal salvation and are born again to love others let’s live it out practically. A couple of ways that we love each other is by not thinking evil of them or hoping they fall (malice), To speak the truth to them in love (deceit), to be real and not fake (hypocrisy), not to covet another persons life or be jealous of them (envy) and don’t speak anything evil about a Christian brother or sister.
This is the basis for our love for others, we are to love others based on our eternal salvation and by the commands found in the eternal word of God.
Now we come to our second point in verses 2-3 we see our motivation to walk in love.
2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
You and I as believers are to be growing. One of the ways that we grow is by continually feeding on the word of God.
Knowing that the word of God is what causes us to grow we should be like newborn babies who long for it every moment. If we have seen what God has done for us already by His grace, it should cause us to even more to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
I can’t help but see a warning in these two verse as a reminder and a motivator to love others, because not loving others or holding bitterness, hatred or unforgivness in our hearts is going to hinder that growing process which God wants to do in our lives.
Yes, we should love because we are loved. Yes, we should love because we are commanded in the eternal word of God to love. But we must also not forget that loving God and others is how we grow in our Christian walk.
In closing, remember your position in Christ. We are a partakers in the incorruptible things of God. This is awesome stuff! With this amazing position comes a responsibility we are to love others as Christ as loved us.