1Pe 1:22-25 “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
Peter has called to our attention here a most glorious and humbling truth. To fully perceive that power of that, we need to start at “Being born again.” Peter is addressing a people that are physically alive, so they have obviously been born in a natural sense. He identifies these people as the elect of God through sanctification of the Spirit in his greeting, so they have been born of the Spirit of God. Now he is speaking of being born again by the word (my emphasis) of God.
The Greek definition (see Strong’s) of word in the phrase word of God is “something said, by implication a topic or reasoning . . . but specifically the Divine Expression (that is, Christ).” The term seed here carries with it the idea of sowing or parentage. So we are born again, not of decaying (corruptible) parentage, but of undecaying (incorruptible) parentage. In other words, the source is not perishable man but the Divine Expression of God, which is alive and remains forever!
Since we have been born of the pure parentage of the Divine Expression of God, it is manifest that we have sanctified our souls. The term soul here comes from the Greek word referring to our sentient spirit (that which makes us able to perceive or feel) as opposed to the Greek word that implies the immortal and rational soul. The teaching here is that we have sanctified our lives by being obedient to the Divine Expression of God. However, we cannot take the credit for this.
We have sanctified our lives. This sanctification has come through our obedience to the truth. The channel through which that obedience comes is not of us. We have obeyed the truth through the Spirit. The word translated as Spirit here does refer to the “rational soul” and not simply sentience. Since the Spirit is capitalized here, it further denotes a personification: the reference here is to the Holy Spirit. Thus, having been born of the Divine Expression through the work of the Holy Spirit, we have sanctified our lives in obeying the truth of God. The sanctification of our lives in obedience to the truth has a definitive outcome; we have a true and earnest love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Having this unfeigned love for our brethren is the sure evidence of the purification of our souls. This love refers to the feeling that we have in our hearts, but Peter says we are not finished.
Once we have received this feeling in our hearts of affection for each other, we are supposed to do something with that feeling. The second term translated as love was not about a feeling but about acting on that feeling. We are to be diligent (“see that ye”) in performing loving actions to our brothers and sisters. We are to seek out opportunities to love in deed and not just in feeling. There should be a passion in the love that we show to one another, just as there is great passion in the love that Jesus has shown to us!
As maturing Christians, we understand the transience of our human existence. We bloom for a season, but the bloom fades and we wither back to the earth from whence we came. There is a word given to us, however, that endures for ever. The term word in the close of this chapter refers only to a spoken word and does not carry with it the earlier meaning of the Divine Expression. Peter is telling us that although our lives are fleeting, we have instruction from the Lord that is abiding. As long as mankind is upon the earth, we will have the good news of Jesus Christ to encourage us. The Spirit interprets this abiding word to our souls that we may obey the truth and receive the evidence that we are sanctified because we love our brothers and sisters without reservation.
May our lives reflect the love of Jesus every day!