Lesson 5: Unashamed of the Gospel in a Morally Shameless Society
1 Peter 1:22-2:1
Love one another earnestly.
“Having purified your souls by obedience to the truth.” (1:22a), and “Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding world of God.” (1:23), a resulting command flows: “Love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” (1:22b).
Peter is writing to people who, because of their Christianity, feel isolated, estranged from the world, even looked down upon. Where can they find respite from the pressures of the culture around them? The answer is, in one another.
Have you received the gospel with faith? Me, too. Have you been washed in the blood? Me, too. Have you accepted the call to the mission of living a holy life? Me, too. Are you invested in the hope of eternal salvation? Me, too. Are you committed to love and obey Jesus? Me, too.
All of that makes us faith siblings – brothers and sisters. Our shared worldview, beliefs, and practices join us together in a family that knows the natural bond of brotherly love (phileo). Our next step is to “love (agape) one another fervently, intensely, unremittingly.”
Our connection to one another is rooted in the word of God. We have been “obedient to the truth’ (1:22). We have been born again through “the living and abiding word of God.’ (1:23). We believe “the word of the Lord remains forever” (vs. 24). We cling to “this word…the good news that was preached.” (vs. 25).
A secular culture scoffs at our commitments to purity, obedience, and truth. They do not understand why Christians do not value the temporary glories that so important to them. They do not buy into our overriding preference for all things eternal.
Christian share these two things: 1) a common belief system and, 2) the hostility of the world around us. If we are to survive, we must “love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” To the degree that we are disconnected from one another, we are that much more susceptible to the temptation to backslide into worldliness.
Therefore, we cannot afford to treat one another with actions and attitudes that are at the opposite end of love. Malice holds grudges; love forgives. Deceit tells lies; love speaks the truth. Hypocrisy drains relationships; love blesses relationships. Envy resents a friend’s blessing; love rejoices at a friend’s blessing. Slander tears people down; love builds people up.
Your soul has been purified. You have been born again. You have tasted that the Lord is good. Having experienced the love of God, be loving!
For discussion and enlightenment:
Comment on these recurring words and phrases in 1 Peter 1:
Obedience, vs. 2, 14, 22
Perishable/imperishable, vs. 4, 7, 18, 23
Good news, vs. 12, 25
Born again, vs. 3, 23
What is the difference in the two loves mentioned in verse 22?
How is brotherly affection and shared godly love effective in helping us not to give in to the temptation of becoming ashamed our Christian beliefs and behaviors?