1 Peter 1:22 – 2:3
22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for asincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring 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 off,
25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.”
And this is the word which was preached to you. 2 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
Peter is talking about sanctification. He is talking to us believers of God through Christ. He has explained who Jesus is, who we are in Him, and our new relationship with God. Now he is getting into the “what now” portion of his letter. I know it seems a bit odd that I put the end of chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2 together, but I don’t entirely think they are separate thoughts. When the letters in the bible were written, there weren’t chapters and verses, it was just a whole letter. The reason I kept them together today is because the pure love that we have now been gifted with (explained in the end of chapter 1) is directly related to how we grow in our relationship with God (beginning of chapter 2.
We have read throughout the scriptures that God is love. He exemplified ultimate love on the cross. It is in accepting this love that we receive it and we are then “born again” or “born anew”. Since studying the Book of John, I have gained a new perspective on the phrase “word of God.” Since he described Jesus as being The Word, then whenever we see the “word of God” I tend to pause and try to understand the gravity of it, especially in the part that Peter quotes here from the prophet Isaiah that the word of the Lord endures forever. Too often we tend to let punctuation and capitalization dictate what the scriptures are saying instead of looking at it more clearly. If Jesus was and is the Word, then when Isaiah professes this, isn’t he referring to Jesus? Similarly, when we see Peter reference the living and enduring word of God as well as the word that was preached to you, we can now see it is all the same. Moreso, Peter describes “the word” as pure milk that if you have tasted it, you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. Folks, yes, he is talking about the message of God, what we normally refer to as “the word,” but let us not forget that it ALWAYS refers to Jesus.
Now, don’t get this all twisted in your head; I’m not saying that the ink or even the pages in your bible are Jesus. I’m saying that the message of God, from Genesis to Revelation, has always been about Christ! I have also stumbled upon another element in this passage that seems to have gotten lost through translation. The original Greek, which in this case is better reflected through the King James translation reveals how our souls are purified. Maybe this word is what is translated solely as “truth” in verse 22, but let’s see what the author wrote initially. “22 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:” It is God’s Spirit, the Spirit of Christ aka the Holy Spirit, that reveals to us the truth that we are to obey. It is in our obedience to God’s Spirit in us that we are then purified.
I’m not going to go into the list the Peter provides in verse 1; I think that is pretty straight forward. However, let’s take a peek at what follows. It is our salvation, receiving the love of God and accepting it, that is the reference point from which we can grow spiritually. Without this, we cannot truly grow because it is the start of our relationship with God and if it doesn’t begin, how can it grow? Our sanctification is only possible by obedience to the Holy Spirit, which we receive with our faith. We receive the Spirit in conjunction with our salvation and it is from that point forward that we are sanctified in truth. Peter is encouraging us to seek this out, the word of God (ie. Jesus) like a newborn baby desiring milk. Have you ever paid attention to how much a newborn eats? They certainly surpass the “3 square meals” rule! Why then do we only snack on the word instead of constantly going back for more?
How can we take Peter’s words to heart? Jesus tells us, “8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” So then, why wouldn’t we work for this purity in heart? Why wouldn’t we want to increase in our relationship with God? Our sanctification is the realization of the fullness of God’s love. We might understand it and may have even experienced some of it, but this is what Peter is talking about and encouraging us to experience fully.
The question isn’t “why would we desire such a thing,” but rather “why wouldn’t we?”