“22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,”
Love is the hallmark of the Christian faith, because it is rooted in the God whose very essence is love.
John tells us that “anyone who does not love, does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8).
We see God’s love in the way he cares for his creation; but above all, it is demonstrated in the giving of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us. Now His love is not like our human love. He doesn’t love us because we are loveable and obedient creatures, nor is it because we make Him feel good. On the contrary, the scriptures tell us: “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8).
After identifying His readers as those who are born again by the mercy of God and have now become sons and daughters of God through adoption, Peter then exhorts them to walk worthy of their calling, in holiness and the fear of God. He now turns their attention to how they are to relate to their fellow pilgrims.
He says that they are to love them “sincerely,” “earnestly,” and from a “pure heart.”
Our love is to be genuine and not pretentious. It is to be an “all-out” kind of love, similar to the love of Christ for us.
However, being fully aware of our weakness as redeemed and yet not fully sanctified sinners, Peter knows that we will come short of this kind of love; so in verses 2:1-3, he gives us guidelines as to how we can grow in our love for one another. First, we must put off those things that marked us in our fallen condition: malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander. Secondly, we must feed daily upon the word of God, and particularly the gospel of our salvation, so that we may grow more in this Christian grace of love. And finally, we are to abide in, feed upon, and learn from Christ, who is love incarnate. May the Lord help us to demonstrate to the world that we are Christ’s disciples by our fervent love for one another.