III. Our lives have been changed by God’s Word (22-25)
Why should we love others? How should we love others (sincerely and fervently)? Why can we love others?
How is the word of God described? Why are these two adjectives (living and enduring) chosen? How is the word of God compared to earthly things?
What are some other verses which tell us about the word of God?
Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Matthew 24:35 – Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
2 Timothy 2:15 – Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
Luke 11:28 – He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
1. Our obedience is based on the truth. While sharing the gospel, many have said, “The Bible is good. It has good morals and principles inside. It shows us how to be a good person.” Their idea is that the Bible has helpful principles for us to live by, yet they don’t believe in God. They like the Bible because it shows us to do good deeds, but they don’t accept its principle message or believe that it is the truth.
However, if the Bible is not the truth, there is no point in studying it. There is no point in obeying it. If it is not the true standard from God, then it is just some dead peoples’ opinion and therefore doesn’t matter. But the Bible is truth. We do what is right because we know that it is right.
2. From the last verses, we see one of Peter’s key concerns for the brethren. He exhorts the believers to be holy, to purify their souls. This is one of our chief goals during our time on earth. We are to be holy as He is holy. We are to be sanctified day by day.
3. As our souls are sanctified and our hearts are cleansed, this will affect our everyday lives and our actions, meaning that we will begin to show love to the people around us. Over a long period of time this love cannot be forced or faked. True love must come from our heart. People will be able to tell if the good things we do for them stem from our own selfish motivation.
True love cares only for the other person and is not focused on oneself. Two words (one adjective and one adverb) are mentioned for how we are to love others. The first is “sincere.” What are some examples of insincere love? How about sincere love? Sincere love comes from the heart. It comes with no strings attached and no catch. It is giving a gift with no thought of return (James 1:27).
The second word is “fervently.” We are to fervently love others. This shows the degree we are to love others. It is not halfhearted. It is not sometimes. It is not 80% (as in I will be nice to you most of the time and that is OK). It is complete and willing to do anything in our power for others just as Christ gave His very life for us.
4. This type of love is not natural. In fact, our nature is dead set against it. But, we have been born again. Therefore God gives us the strength to do it where we by ourselves would fail.
5. The Word of God – It is living and enduring. For many of the questions we ask in study (IE: how do we know God’s character? How can we grow closer to Christ? How can we strengthen our faith? How do we know God’s will?) can be answered correctly “Bible.”
But why is the Bible so powerful? Why can the Bible change our lives? Because it is God’s Word. It is living and active. It ministers to real people with real needs in real life situations. It answers every important question we can ask about our life and this world. It contains every guiding principle we need for how to shape our character and direct our life. It contains everything we need to know about who is our God, His character, and His standards for us.
Virtually everything we see around us will one day perish and be destroyed, but God’s Word endures. Its power will never fade. Its truth will never change. Its message will never need to be updated. It has eternal value and it can influence our lives and our destiny for eternity. The things around us will fade in importance. Careers end.
Achievements fade with passing time. Success is forgotten. Power will change hands. Physical fitness will fail. Fat bank accounts will grow empty. Relationships (if not founded on God) may break apart. Homes and cars will get broken. God’s Word still remains unchanged. It can and should change our very lives.
So what applications can we make from the fact that the Word of God is living and enduring and far more important than the temporary earthly things around us?
A. Love it. The beginning of the next chapter shows us that we need to crave God’s Word as newborn babies crave pure spiritual milk.
B. Memorize it. Get God’s Word into our hearts so that we will not forget it.
C. Study it. Dig into it to learn everything we can about God and His plan for our lives.
D. Read it. Keep reading it through and through. Although we may have read it before, we will forget some of it. Also we need to be reminded about the truths in it since our flesh is sinful.
E. Teach it. We must share God’s Word with others. Whether they know it or not, they need it. It is much more important than whatever earthly things they are spending their time on. We must pass it on to others and teach them to do the same.
F. Obey it. Don’t just know the Bible. Don’t just build up spiritual knowledge. Apply it. Allow God to use His Words to change our lives. It may not be easy. It may require losing face or changing a habit that our flesh loves. Make the sacrifice for God. Offer your body as a living sacrifice to Him.
Chapter Breakdown: 1 Peter Chapter 01
22You have purified your souls by obeying the truth in order to show sincere mutual love. So love one another earnestly from a pure heart.
The Messianic believers were not to purify their souls by Mosaic rituals. They were to purify their souls by obeying “the truth”. The Truth possesses a definite article in Greek, so it is the specific truth of the gospel. Once they believed the gospel, then they could experience agape love. Agape love is divine love. Only believers can express agape love. Agape love is knowledge and application of Biblical doctrine. One applies Biblical doctrine not for salvation, but because of their love for Christ.
The Messianic believers are to love each other with a pure heart. The Greek word for love is different. It is the Greek word philadelphia, meaning brotherly love. Messianic believers love other believers as family members, but only because the Holy Spirit opened their minds and allowed them to understand the gospel.
23You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.
The Greek word for “born anew” is ἀναγεγεννημένοι (anagegenamenoi), a perfect passive participle, meaning born from above. Many Arminians mistranslate this verse as “born again”, because they want to hide the election and predestination aspect of Bible doctrine. The perfect tense means that this process of being born from above happened in the past and its results continue forever. The passive voice means that the recipients received the birth from a different source other than themselves. These Greek tenses and voices destroy the false teaching of Arminianism.
All men are born through the natural seed of the father. This seed will eventually grow into adulthood and die. The Messianic believers experienced two types of births. Their second birth was the imperishable seed of the Holy Spirit. They heard the spoken Word of God. The Holy Spirit regenerated their dead spirit, making it alive so that they could understand the gospel.
24For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of the grass; the grass withers and the flower falls off, 25but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was proclaimed to you.
The author quoted from Isaiah 40:6-8. Human flesh is like grass or flowers. They grow, are very beautiful, but then they all die.
The Greek for “word” is not logos, but rhema. Rhema is the spoken Word of God. The spoken Word of God endures forever. This spoken Word of God was proclaimed to the Messianic believers. They heard it and believed it, because the Holy Spirit gave them ears to hear it and a mind to understand it. Once they heard the gospel and believed it, then they become an eternal flower that will never die.
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