1 Peter 1:22-25 Commentary

 

 

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1 Peter 1:22-25 Commentary

1 Peter 1:22  Since you have in obedience to the truth purified (RAP) your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love (AAM) one another from the heart, (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: Tas psuchas humon egnikotes (RAPMPN) en te hupakoe ten aletheias eis philadelphian anupokriton, ek [katharas kardias allelous agapesate (2PAAM) ektenos, 
Analyzed Literal: Having [or, Since you have] purified your souls in obedience to the truth through [the] Spirit in sincere brotherly love [fig., affection for fellow-believers], love one another earnestly from a pure heart [fig., inner self],
Amplified: Since by your obedience to the Truth through the [Holy ] Spirit you have purified your hearts for the sincere affection of the brethren, [see that you] love one another fervently from a pure heart.
 (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: 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: (Note: Phrase in green present only in the Textus Receptus not Nestle-Aland used for most modern translations).
NLT: Now you can have sincere love for each other as brothers and sisters because you were cleansed from your sins when you accepted the truth of the Good News. So see to it that you really do love each other intensely with all your hearts.
 (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest:  Wherefore, having purified your souls by means of your obedience to the truth, resulting in not an assumed but a genuine affection and fondness for the brethren, an affection and fondness that springs from your hearts by reason of the pleasure you take in them; from the heart love each other with an intense reciprocal love that springs from your hearts because of your estimation of the preciousness of the brethren, and which is divinely self-sacrificial in its essence (Eerdmans
Young's Literal: Your souls having purified in the obedience of the truth [through the Spirit ] to brotherly love unfeigned, out of a pure heart one another love ye earnestly,

REFERENCES

Don Anderson
Paul Apple
Albert Barnes
Brian Bell
Charles Bigg
Jim Bomkamp
John Brown
Alan Carr
Rich Cathers
Adam Clarke
John Calvin
Vincent Cheung
Steven Cole
Thomas Constable
F C Cook
Ron Daniel
Robert Deffinbaugh
Dan Duncan
Dwight Edwards
G Fronmuller
G Fronmuller
A C Gaebelein
John Gill
L M Grant
David Guzik
Matthew Henry
F B Hole
Jamieson, F, B
William Kelly
Robert Leighton
R C Lenski
John MacArthur
John MacArthur
Alexander Maclaren
J Vernon McGee
J Vernon McGee
J Vernon McGee

J Vernon McGee
J Vernon McGee
J Vernon McGee
Thomas Manton
John Newton
J C Philpot
John Piper
Ray Pritchard
Edward Plumptre
Grant Richison
Grant Richison
Grant Richison
Grant Richison
Ron Ritchie
A T Robertson
Dave Roper
Rob Salvato
Chuck Smith
Chuck Smith
Chuck Smith
Hamilton Smith
C H Spurgeon
C H Spurgeon
C H Spurgeon

C H Spurgeon
C H Spurgeon
Ray Stedman
Sammy Tippitt
Marvin Vincent
Precept Ministries
RBC Ministries

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SINCE YOU HAVE IN OBEDIENCE TO THE TRUTH PURIFIED YOUR SOULS: Tas psuchas humon hegnikotes (RAPMPN) en te hupakoe tes aletheias: (note: some manuscripts like Greek Textus Receptus -- KJV add "through the Spirit" after "truth). (John 15:3; 17:17,19; Acts 15:9; Romans 6:16,17; 2Thessalonians 2:13; James 4:8) (1Peter 3:1; 4:17; Acts 6:7; Romans 1:5; 2:8; Galatians 3:1; 5:7; Hebrews 5:9; 11:8)

Since you have -  Peter appeals to the genuineness of his readers' conversions, a radical change they were well aware of. One of the radical changes of this new birth is that it brings is love for our brethren. You do have love for your Christian brethren don't you?

In obedience to the truth - Synonymous with believing the truth. We should not separate belief and obedience for true faith is obeying faith. Those who teach you can believe the truth but not obey the truth have difficulty with passages like this.

John 3:36 He who believes (present tense = as the general direction of their life) in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey (apeitheo [word study] - disbelieves willfully and perversely and as a lifestyle = present tense) the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

See related topic - Study of phrase Obedience of faith

What is the evidence of a purified soul in this context? Love for the brethren. Holy living is incomplete if it isn’t accompanied by love. And such love is now possible for born again persons for as Paul explained to the believers in Rome...

the love of God has been poured out (ekcheo [word study] in the perfect tense = speaks of the permanence of this divine outpouring! PTL!) within our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us. (Ro 5:5-note)

Peter alluded to obedience in his opening words explaining that his readers were chosen...

according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure. (1Pe 1:2-note)

In Romans Paul the phrase obedience of faith is like a pair of "bookends" as it were enclosing Paul's magnum opus on the gospel of Jesus Christ...

through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His name's sake (Ro 1:5-see discussion here on "obedience of faith")

but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;  (Ro 16:26-note)

Barnes writes that obedience to the truth refers to their...

yielding to the requirements of truth, and to its fair influence on their minds, which has been the means of their becoming pure. The truth here referred to is, undoubtedly, that which is revealed in the gospel--the great system of truth respecting the redemption of the world. (Barnes NT Commentary)

Fronmuller (Lange's Commentary) on phrase in obedience to the truth...

By absolute subjection to the truth given in the word of God, by keeping it and causing it to work in the heart. Obedience to the faith and moral obedience are again comprised in one. Truth has a purifying and separating power, removing all obstacles to the exercise of brotherly love, such as selfishness, obstinacy, self-sufficiency, men-pleasing, ambition, flattery, in fact, all manifestations of egotism. Because true believers are the children of God, 1Pe 1:3, 14, 17, they should act as brethren one to another. This is one of the principal commandments of Christ Himself, and consequently one of the main ends of holiness, Mt 22:40; Mk 12:31; Lk 10:28; Jn 13:34, 35; cf. 1Pe 2:17; 1Pe 5:9. But because selfishness, deceit, hypocrisy and flattery are frequently hidden under the cloak of love, the word anupokritos is added. (A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures - Online)

John Piper comments on the critical importance of understanding the phrase obedience of faith writing...

 

How then does our own obedience—“the obedience of faith”—relate to justification? The answer is: Our obedience is not the ground or the basis of our justification. Nor is it any part of the instrument or means by which we are united to Christ who alone is the ground and the basis of our justification. Faith alone unites us to Christ and Christ alone is the ground of our justification. Our obedience is the fruit of that faith. The faith that justifies is the kind of faith that, by the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:13-note), changes us. If your faith in Christ leaves you unchanged, you don’t have saving faith. Obedience—not perfection, but a new direction of thought and affections and behavior—is the fruit that shows that the faith is alive. James put it this way, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17-note). Faith alone justifies, but the faith that justifies is never alone. It is always accompanied by “newness of life” (Ro 6:4-note). Live in the Joy and Assurance of the Gospel - When Paul begins and ends his letter with the goal of “the obedience of faith,” he means for us to live in the joy and the assurance of the first five chapters of Romans, where he shows that we are “justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Ro 3:28-note). And then out of that faith and peace and assurance and boldness, a new mind and a new man emerge and the fruit of obedience grows. And the reality of justifying faith is made manifest. I pray that you will trust in Christ alone as the ground and basis of your justification before God, present and future, and that this faith prove its life and truth by producing a passion for obedience to God—the obedience of faith. (See further relevant texts: Ro 14:23 (note); Gal 5:6; 1Th 1:3 (note); 2Th 1:11; He 11:4, 7, 8, 17, 24.) (See full sermon Command of God: The Obedience of Faith)

Obedience (5218) (hupakoe [word study] from hupo = under + akouo = hear) literally means to "hear under" which conveys the picture of attentive hearkening, of listening and following instructions, of being in compliance or of listening and submitting to that which is heard.

Hupakoe conveys the picture of one listening and following instructions. Submitting to that which is heard involves a change of attitude, forsaking the tendency of the fallen nature to rebel against Divine instructions and commands and seeking God's will, not self will. Someone has said that a "proof" that we are of the elect is not an empty prating about how secure we are once we believed, but rather how sensitive we are to the principle and practice of obedience to Jesus.

Vincent notes that hupakoe was a

"peculiarly New Testament term unknown in classical Greek."

Here in 1 Peter "obedience to the truth" refers to subjection to the saving will of God revealed in Christ. It is notable that this is the second time Peter describes saving faith as an act of obedience (1Pe 1:2-note).

In Romans, Paul twice uses the phrase “the obedience of faith.” (Ro 1:5,16:26) We should not try to separate belief and obedience. True faith is obeying faith (He 3:18, 19-note where you see unbelief paralleled with disobedient.)

Illustration - A missionary translator was endeavoring to find a word for “obedience” in the native language. This was a virtue seldom practiced among the people into whose language he wanted to translate the New Testament. As he returned home from the village one day, he whistled for his dog and it came running at full speed. An old man, seeing this, said, admiringly in the native tongue, “Your dog is all ear.” Immediately the missionary knew he had his word for obedience. (Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations by Paul Lee Tan)

Wayne Barber reiterates this important truth emphasizing that believers have a

"willingness to obey. That doesn’t mean Christians always obey. But you cannot habitually live disobedient unto God. You may have an area that will trip you up. But at some point you will confess, repent and come back to God. Why? Because Life is inside of you. It is a Person. The divine Seed of Life is in you, and you can’t be left to do what you want to do. God will either take you out of here, or He’ll prune you. He’ll cut you back and cut you back and cut you back until finally He disciplines. He scourges and chastens those whom He loves. He doesn’t let us get away with lawless living. You find a person who claims to know Christ and lives in sin, lives lawlessly as a habitual practice, that person does not know Christ" (see 1Jn 2:10,11, 3:9,10, 5:2).

You...purified - Obviously we do not have the power to produce personal purity, but God it is the Holy Spirit Who purifies our souls when we are saved.

Purified (48) (hagnizo [word study] from hagnos [word study] = freedom from defilements or impurities; see also word study on related word hagios = holy, saint) in the literal sense refers to ceremonial washings and purifications undertaken to purify oneself from ritual defilement. In the context of this ceremonial purification the idea was withdrawal from the profane (common) and dedication to God, thereby making one ceremonially ready. This sense is seen in the OT uses in the Septuagint (LXX) - see below, where hagnizo was used of the the Nazirites who took upon themselves a temporary or a life-long vow to abstain from wine and all kinds of intoxicating drink, from every defilement and from shaving the head. Luke seems to make allusion to a similar Nazirite-like practice by Paul in Acts 21:24, 26, 24:18.

Hagnizo - 7x in 7v - John 11:55; Acts 21:24, 26; 24:18; Jas 4:8; 1 Pet 1:22; 1 John 3:3-note. NAS = purified(2), purifies(1), purify(3), purifying(1).

Hagnizo - 25x in Septuagint (LXX)- Ex 19:10; Num 6:3; 8:21; 11:18; 19:12; 31:19, 23; Josh 3:5; 1 Sam 21:5; 1 Chr 15:12, 14; 2 Chr 29:5, 15ff, 34; 30:3, 15, 17f; 31:18; Isa 66:17; Jer 12:3;

The root word hagnos describes what is morally undefiled and when used ceremonially describes that which has been so cleansed that it is fit to be brought into the presence of God and used in His service. James uses this root word hagnos in his list of characteristics of heavenly wisdom (Jas 3:17).  Hagnos describes a purity which affects a not only a person’s motives but also their conduct. In short, hagnizo is a verb used in Scripture to describe ceremonial and/or spiritual purification, and addressing both the external and internal aspects of our being. As stated, James is commanding his readers to undertake an internal cleansing.

Three of the NT uses of hagnizo refer not to literal (ritual/ceremonial) purification, but to ethical/moral or internal/heart purification (Jas 4:8-hagnizo, 1Pe 1:22; 1Jn 3:3-note), where the emphasis is not on external cleansing but on internal cleansing so that one's heart is fully devoted to the Lord and His will and way. The present context of 1Pe 1:22 describes an internal, supernatural cleansing which occurred when they received the living and abiding word and were caused to be born again by God (1Pe 1:3-note). Peter says a person is purified when he or she obeys the truth (the Word of God, the Gospel) and in context Peter is referring to the initial experience of salvation (justification) by grace through faith.

Hagnizo is in the perfect tense signifying a past act (the moment we believed the gospel) with ongoing effects (enabled to sacrificially love others). The perfect tense underscores the permanence of the once for all transaction of salvation. The point is that one's salvation cannot be lost. Thus even the verb tense (perfect) supports the eternal security of the believer and counters the teaching that one can lose their salvation (cp Jesus' words of assurance in Jn 10:27, 28, 29 which could not be more plainly stated!)

Matthew Henry comments that...

To purify the soul supposes some great uncleanness and defilement which had polluted it, and that this defilement is removed. Neither the Levitical purifications under the law, nor the hypocritical purifications of the outward man, can effect this. The word of God is the great instrument of a sinner’s purification. The gospel is called truth, in opposition to types and shadows, to error and falsehood. This truth is effectual to purify the soul, if it be obeyed, John 17:17. Many hear the truth, but are never purified by it, because they will not submit to it nor obey it...The souls of Christians must be purified before they can so much as love one another unfeigned. There are such lusts and partialities in man’s nature that without divine grace we can neither love God nor one another as we ought to do; there is no charity but out of a pure heart. It is the duty of all Christians sincerely and fervently to love one another. Our affection to one another must be sincere and real, and it must be fervent, constant, and extensive.

Our position (purified) forms the basis for our practice (fervent love). Note that it is God of course Who purifies our souls when we are saved for fallen men and women do not have the power to bring about personal internal moral purity.

FOR A SINCERE LOVE OF THE BRETHREN: eis philadelphian anupokriton: (1Peter 2:17; 3:8; 4:8; John 13:34,35; 15:17; Romans 12:9,10; 2Corinthians 6:6; Ephesians 4:3; 1Thessalonians 4:8,9; 1Timothy 1:5; Hebrews 6:10; 13:1; James 2:15,16; 2Peter 1:7; 1 John 3:11,14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19,23; 4:7,12,20,21; 5:1,2)

a fraternal affection without hypocrisy (Clarke)

For a sincere love - literally unto or into a sincere love. And so one of the primary goals of our salvation is that we might show love to fellow believers.

Why is demonstration of love so important? For one thing John writes...

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. (1Jn. 3:14)

And in John's gospel Jesus explains to His disciples...

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.  (John 13:34, 35).

Sincere (505) (anupokritos [word study] from "a" = without +  hupokrinomai = to pretend) means unfeigned, without pretense, that is that which is genuine, free from deceit, authentic, undisguised, without pretense or sham and to use the "king's old English" to be "without dissimulation" (KJV) (dissimulate = hide under a false appearance).

In classical Greek drama, the hupokrites (actor) wore a face-mask projecting an image but hiding his true identity under (hupo) a mask.

Peter is saying that the Christian’s love should not be acting a part or wearing a mask, but should be an authentic expression of goodwill.

In a similar way Paul exhorts the believers at Rome to...

Let love be without hypocrisy (anupokritos). Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.  (Ro 12:9-note)

Believers are not simply to be "playing the part" but are to exemplify a love which is completely genuine, unhypocritical, without pretense or deceit. A believer's love is to be "the real thing".

Wuest comments that

The world wears a mask. The love which it shows on the face is only external. That is feigned love. Ours should be unfeigned. If a saint does not have a love which is unfeigned, the trouble is with his adjustment to the Holy Spirit who is the One to provide that saint with that love. The Spirit-filled saint does not have to play the hypocrite in the matter of love, for love shines right out of his eyes. It is on his face, in his actions." (Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)

Anupokritos is used by the NT writers to modify

love (Ro 12:9-note, 2Cor 6:6, 1 Peter 1:22),

faith (present verse and 1Ti 1:5) and

wisdom (James 3:17).

Metaphorically and morally, a hupokrites (a hypocrite) is anyone who pretends to be something they are not. It is interesting to note that our English word sincere comes from the Latin sincerus, which means "without wax" which stems from a practice of the early Roman merchants who set their earthen and porcelain jars out for sale. If a crack appeared in one, they would fill it with wax the same color as the jar, so a buyer would not be aware that it was cracked. But astute buyers learned to hold these jars out in the sun, and if the jar was cracked, the wax would melt and the crack would be revealed. So the honest merchants would test their wares this way and mark them sincerus -- "without wax".

Hypocrisy is exceeded in evil only by unbelief. The consummate hypocrite in Scripture, Judas, was also the consummate egoist. He feigned devotion to Jesus to achieve his own selfish purposes. His hypocrisy was unmasked and his self-centeredness was made evident when he betrayed Jesus for the thirty pieces of silver. Peter's exhortation for us to manifest an unfeigned love implies that there can be a feigned "love". Don't be deceived. It is tragic when people try to “manufacture” love, because the product is obviously cheap and artificial. The love that we share with each other, and with a lost world, must be generated by the Spirit of God. It is a constant power in our lives, and not something that we turn on and off like a radio.

John Calvin says

nothing is more difficult than to love our neighbors in sincerity. For the love of ourselves rules, which is full of hypocrisy; and besides, every one measures his love, which he shows to others, by his own advantage, and not by the rule of doing good. He adds, fervently; for the more slothful we are by nature, the more ought every one to stimulate himself to fervor and earnestness, and that not only once, but more and more daily.

By nature, all of us are selfish and it therefore took a work of grace to supernaturally give believers the selfless, sacrificial kind of love that God is and that He displays undeserving sinners. Because we “obeyed the truth through the Spirit,” God purified our souls and poured His love into our hearts, Paul recording that...

hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Ro 5:5-note).

Love of the brethren  (5360) (philadelphia [word study] from phílos = beloved, dear, friendly + adelphós = brother) means "fraternal love" or brotherly love (kindness). Brotherly love normally referred to the love members of a family held for each other (this was the way it was used in secular Greek) and would not normally be used to describe the love between members of different families. However, in the NT philadelphia is used to describe the love that believers possess for one to another, for even though they were members of different natural families, they were united in Christ and were recipients of family love originating from the Father Who had bestowed His great love on His spiritual children...

See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him (1John 3:1)

Peter uses philadelphia in his second epistle describing one aspect of their growth in grace exhorting the believers to apply all diligence in their faith...

and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. (See note 2 Peter 1:7)

Philadelphia describes a love which calls for an affection for one another like that one expressed between natural family members (Ro 12:10-note where devoted or "loving warmly" = philostorgos from philos = beloved, dear + storge = family love,  the love of parents and children).

Remember that Christianity forged a radical relationship in Christ wherein believing Greeks and Jews, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarians, Scythians, slaves and freemen, men and women were now all one in their Lord (cp Gal 3:28, Col 3:11-note, Ep 4:3-note). Such a diverse cultural community would have continual need for emphasis on love of the brethren.

As Christians we have become brothers and sisters in the community of faith and Paul refers to them as brothers (sisters is clearly implied) some nineteen times in his first letter to the Thessalonians (and most of these believers had been rank idol worshippers so for a Jew to call them brothers requires a supernatural work). Our love is not just a passive disposition of fondness but manifests itself in overt acts of kindness toward the brethren.

Love for the brethren is an evidence that we truly have been born of God, as John explains in his first epistle...

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. (1Jn 4:7-21).

Now as obedient children (1Pe 1:14-note) we are no longer to live in the selfish desires of our old nature, for believers are partakers of His divine nature and have a new to love.

FERVENTLY
LOVE ONE ANOTHER FROM THE HEART: ek (katharas) kardias allelous agaphesate (2PAAM) ektenos: (Philippians 1:9; 1Th 3:12; 2Th 1:3; Rev 2:4)

KJV (Textus Receptus) qualifies the NAS from the heart, but adding

love one another with a pure heart fervently

From the heart (or with a pure heart) - When we entered the New Covenant by grace through faith, we received a new heart and God's Spirit (see Ezekiel 36:26, 27 which is an OT promise of the New Covenant). Now with our new heart, enabled by the Spirit, our motive in loving one another is not to get but to give. The world teaches that if you give to others, you will be able to manipulate them and ultimate fulfill your selfish desires. Love from the (pure) heart never seeks to use others to its advantage.

Because of our new position (purified souls) we are commanded to a new practice (sincere love of the brethren). In other words, our position in Christ forms the basis for our practice in the power of His Spirit (cf Gal 5:22-note; Gal 5:23-note). The principle that doctrine determines duty permeates the Scriptures, for as James said...

if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. (Jas 1:23, 24-note)

Fervently love one another - Matthew Henry writes that this exhortation...

supposes that the gospel had already had such an effect upon them as to purify their souls while they obeyed it through the Spirit, and that it had produced at least an unfeigned love of the brethren; and thence he argues with them to proceed to a higher degree of affection, to love one another with a pure heart fervently

Leighton

The true reason why there is so little truth of this Christian mutual love amongst those that are called Christians, is, because there is so little of this purifying obedience to the truth, whence it flows; faith unfeigned would beget this love unfeigned: men may exhort to them both, but they require the hand of God to work them in the heart.

Paul's prayer for the saints at Philippi was to manifest and experience an abounding love for one another...

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ (Php 1:9, 10-note)

Paul gives a similar charge to the saints in Thessalonica who have come out of paganism and idol worship exhorting them...

Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more. (1Th 4:9, 10-note)

Fervently  (1619) (ektenos [word study] from ek = out + teíno = stretch; English = tension, etc) literally pictures one "stretching out" to love others! It pictures "an intense strain" and unceasing activity which normally involving a degree of intensity and/or perseverance. 

Ektenos is from the verb ekteino which means to “stretch out the hand.”, thus it means to be stretched out—earnest, resolute, intense. The fundamental idea is earnestness, zealousness -- not doing something lightly and perfunctorily but straining as it were to do it!

Ektenos was an athletic term conveying the meaning of “striving with all of one’s energy” and was used to describe a runner who was moving at maximum output with taut muscles straining and stretching to the limit. This meaning presents the clear picture that love is not something that will just happen, but is something we have to work at like an Olympic athlete who strives to master his area of expertise with all his energy. We must make the choice and be earnest, resolute, even intense in our practice of agape love, always in complete dependence of God's indwelling Spirit and His living and abiding Word.

Fronmuller writes that ektenos...

is a very pregnant addition. It denotes stretching out, straining, putting forth strenuous effort, hence (a) by straining and extending every energy, by untiring elasticity, (b) by sustained perseverance, (c) by extending it to such brethren as appear less worthy of love. Weiss: “With lasting, persevering energy, that cannot be tired out by the cumulating guilt of our neighbour,” 1Pe 4:8. The possibility of such a mode of conduct belongs to the state of regeneration, 1Pe 1:23; cf. Mt 18:21, 22. Steiger. “As natural relationship produces natural affection, so spiritual relationship produces spiritual affection.” It is lasting, because emanating from an eternal source of life. (1 Peter 1:22-25 Commentary Lange's Commentary Online)

Peter is saying in essence

Stretch to the limits in your loving others sacrificial and selflessly.

Roger Raymer adds that...

This love is to be expressed not shallowly but “deeply” (ektenos, “at full stretch” or “in an all-out manner, with an intense strain”...). (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor or Logos)

Vincent writes that ektenos is a compound work

with the verb teino, to stretch, and (signifies) intense strain; feeling on the rack (an instrument of torture on which a body is stretched)

Vine says...

The idea suggested is that of not relaxing in effort, or acting in a right spirit.

In the only other NT use, ektenos describes the church's prayer for Peter in prison

So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. (Acts 12:5) (Note that the Textus Receptus - used to translate the KJV - actually has the closely related word ektenes not ektenos as does the Nestle-Aland which is used for the NAS translation.)

The comparative form of the closely related adjective ektenes (ektenesteron) is used to describe the intensity of our Lord's prayer in Gethsemane

And being in agony He was praying very fervently (ektenesteron); and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. (Luke 22:44)

Comment: what a picture of the passion of Jesus in prayer!

Note that ektenos is used only here and in some manuscripts (Nestle-Aland) in Acts 12:5. As mentioned above, Acts 12:5 in the Textus Receptus uses the closely related adjective ektenes., which is also used in chapter 4 of first Peter...

Above all, keep fervent (ektenes) in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. (1Pe 4:8-note)

Fervently love one another - MacDonald comments that...

The exhortation to love one another is especially timely for a people undergoing persecution because it is well known that “under conditions of hardship, trivial disagreements take on gigantic proportions.” (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or Logos)

Love  (25) (agapao) (Click study of agapao) speaks of an unconditionally, sacrificial love, which is ultimately the love that God demonstrates and even "is" ("God is love" 1Jn 4:8, 16). By nature, in Adam (Ro 5:12-note), all men are are selfish and therefore only a a miracle of God could give sinners this quality of divine, saintly love.

Agape love is neither a not sentimental or emotional type love so often depicted in television, movies and magazines. Instead, agape love demands an act of obedience by the lover for the "lovee" and thus represents a specific volitional choice or act of the lover's will.

Agape love desires the recipients highest good whether one they deserve it or not or whether the lover feels like giving it or not. If is not a matter of how one feels. Feelings can be deceiving and can emanate from our fallen flesh nature. Too many marriages are falling apart because one party doesn't feel like they love the other party any longer. That is unbiblical for a believer, for we are commanded to demonstrate a love based on God's truth and we can carry out this command empowered by God's Spirit as we yield to His control in every circumstance that might cause us to not "feel" like loving the other person.

Agape love is not conditional but is to be given to one's spouse or any other person, believer or not even if or when it is not received or is not returned! "Impossible" you protest! Indeed, this supernatural love is not humanly possible but only possible because God's Spirit is within us both to give us the "want to" and to give the "power to" carry it out. (Php 2:12-note; Php 2:13-note)

Note that in this verse, the verb "love" is not a suggestion but a clear command to be immediately (even urgently) obeyed each time one encounters a person or circumstance that might otherwise tempt us to rely on and respond out of our fallen nature. To grow in grace is to recognize those circumstances (especially "adverse" circumstances) and those people (especially "difficult" people) and then surrendered to and empowered by the Holy Spirit (in other words as you encounter these circumstances or people, you are already walking in the Spirit, being controlled by the Spirit) the giving of agape love is your "supernatural reflex". In other words you act (based on the truth) don't react (based on your feelings)!

The aorist tense and imperative mood  commands the believer to carry out this act of love now and do it effectively. The active voice indicates that each believer must decide in his or her mind to carry out this love. It is decision of your will.  Imperative mood (a command which conveys the sense of urgency).

Wuest adds that agape

"speaks of a love which in its classical usage refers to a love called out of one’s heart by the preciousness of the person loved, which usage is carried over into the NT, but which word has an additional content of meaning poured into it by the way it is used in certain contexts such as (John 3:16), where the idea of self-sacrifice for the benefit of the person loved is added to its classical meaning, (1Cor13:4ff-note) where the constituent elements of its Biblical usage are listed, and (1Jn 4:8), where it is said to refer to the love that God is. Thus, the exhortation is to love one’s brother Christian because he is precious to God, and to love him with a love that is willing to sacrifice one’s self for the benefit of that brother, a love that causes one to be long suffering toward him, a love that makes one treat him kindly, a love that so causes one to rejoice in the welfare of another that there is no room for envy in the heart, a love that is not jealous, a love that keeps one from boasting of one’s self, a love that keeps one from bearing one’s self in a lofty manner, a love that keeps one from acting unbecomingly, a love that keeps one from seeking one’s own rights, a love that keeps one from becoming angry, a love that does not impute evil, a love that does not rejoice in iniquity but in the truth, a love that bears up against all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. That is the kind of love which God says one Christian should have for another. These Christians to whom Peter was writing already had a fondness and an affection for one another. The feeling of fondness and affection was perfectly proper in itself, but it could degenerate into an attachment for another which would be very selfish. But if these Christians would blend the two kinds of love, saturate the human fondness and affection with the divine love with which they are exhorted to love one another, then that human affection would be transformed and elevated to a heavenly thing. Then the fellowship of saint with saint would be a heavenly fellowship, glorifying to the Lord Jesus, and most blessed in its results to themselves. There is plenty of the phile  fondness and affection among the saints, and too little of the agape divine love." (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans or Logos)

Love is something we have to work at, just as an Olympic contestant has to work at his particular skills. Christian love is not a feeling; it is a matter of the will. We show love to others when we treat them the same way God loves us (unconditionally, sacrificially). God forgives us, so we forgive others. God is kind to us, so we are kind to others. It is not a matter of feeling but of willing, and this is something we must constantly work at...Jesus must be always increasing in us and our old self always decreasing. How do we love this way? By letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly and by being continually filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit of God. The same truth that we trusted and obeyed to become God’s children is our "power source" to nurture and enable us. It is impossible to love the truth and hate the brethren. The Spirit of God produces this agape type love as a beautiful “fruit” in our lives (Gal 5:22-note; Gal 5:23-note).

As Vance Havner quipped

Never before has the church had so many degrees yet so little temperature.

We love “with a pure heart” and not with a motive to get but in fact to give. There is a popular teaching that that uses "love" to subtly manipulate others in order to get what one wants. If our love is sincere and from a pure heart, we do not “use people” for our own advantage.

Barnes writes that...

The phrase "with a pure heart fervently," means

(1.) that it should be genuine love, proceeding from a heart in which there is no guile or hypocrisy; and

(2.) that it should be intense affection, (ektenos) not cold and formal, but ardent and strong. If there is any reason why we should love true Christians at all, there is the same reason why our attachment to them should be intense. (Barnes NT Commentary)

 

1 Peter 1:23  for you have been born again (RPP) not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living (PAP)  and abiding (PAP) word of God. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek anagegennemenoi (RPPMPN) ouk ek sporas phthartes alla aphthartou dia logou zontos (PAPMSG) Theou kai menontos; (PAPMSG
Analyzed Literal: having been [or, because you have been] regenerated [or, born again] not from corruptible seed  but incorruptible, through [the] word of God [which is] living and remaining into the age [fig., forever].
Amplified: You have been regenerated (born again), not from a mortal [4] origin ([5] seed, sperm), but from one that is immortal by the ever living and lasting Word of God.
 (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: For you have been born again. Your new life did not come from your earthly parents because the life they gave you will end in death. But this new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.  (
NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest:  having been begotten again through the Word of God which lives and abides; (
Eerdmans
Young's Literal: being begotten again, not out of seed corruptible, but incorruptible, through a word of God -- living and remaining -- to the age;

FOR YOU HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN: anagegennemenoi (RPPMPN): (1Pe 1:3-note; John 1:3; 3:5)

This truth (born again by the living and abiding word of God) will form the basis for Peter's exhortations in the next chapter which is begins with therefore (see note 1 Peter 2:1)

J Vernon McGee reminds us that...

You cannot be saved, you cannot be born again apart from the Word of God. This Book is the miracle that is in the world today. Although I believe this, I never cease to marvel at the letters I receive from folk who tell me that they have been born again and their lives have been transformed from listening to my Bible-teaching radio broadcast. It is wonderful, but I don’t understand how it happens; I only know that it is the result of the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary:  Thomas Nelson or Logos)

Born again (313) (anagennao [word study] from aná = renewal, again, up + gennáo = beget) (Click for more on anagennao) means to be given new birth and describes regeneration, the act of the Holy Spirit imparting to us a new life, making us partakers of the divine nature and thus children of God, a begetting anew.

Note that in the context this verse teaches that the supernatural birth was through the instrumentality of the Word of God but then Verse 25 adds that it was the Word that was preached to them. It must be proclaimed to the lost.

The perfect tense indicates an event that occurred in the past (at the time of belief) and having continuing effect. Perfect tense also emphasizes the permanent effect of this new birth and new life in Christ which makes possible an unhypocritical brotherly love.

The idea of a new beginning through a new birth with the infusion of divine life was an idea that was widespread in the ancient world. It was an idea present in the mystery religions and also in Judaism. A proselyte to Judaism for example was regarded as a newborn baby!

Matthew Henry...

The word of God is the great means of regeneration, James 1:18-note. The grace of regeneration is conveyed by the gospel.  This new and second birth is much more desirable and excellent than the first. This the apostle teaches by preferring the incorruptible to the corruptible seed. By the one we become the children of men, by the other the sons and daughters of the Most High.

The word of God being compared to seed teaches us that though it is little in appearance, yet it is wonderful in operation, though it lies hid awhile, yet it grows up and produces excellent fruit at last.

NOT OF SEED WHICH IS PERISHABLE BUT IMPERISHABLE: ouk ek sporas phthartes alla aphthartou: (Malachi 2:3; Romans 1:23; 1Corinthians 15:53,54) (1John 3:9; 5:18)

Seed (4701) (spora) is the productive unit of a plant representing the fertilized and ripened egg cell of a plant, capable of sprouting to produce a new plant thus enabling the species to perpetuate itself.

A seed represents "the fertilized ripened ovule of a flowering plant containing an embryo and capable normally of germination to produce a new plant" (Webster)

Seed in this verse is identified as God’s Word as in Jesus' parable in Luke 8...

The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road; and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the air ate it up. (Luke 8:5 )

Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. (Luke 8:11)

As Constable reminds us...

This “seed” shares the character of its Source. It never passes out of fashion nor does it become irrelevant. (Expository Notes)

The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery has an interesting description of seed writing that...

A seed is a product and a producer, a small investment with large potential value, an essential detail, a step in a continuum of reproduction. Though one, it becomes many through death. It is a treasury, an allotment, an investment whose yield depends on its environment. Having central importance in agriculture, which is common to all nations from Adam, the seed yields fertile imagery for both OT and NT principles and events. At a physical level, the image of seed is preeminently of the potential for life and generation. (Ryken, L., Wilhoit, J., Longman, T., Duriez, C., Penney, D., & Reid, D. G. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press)

A flower's seed or a man's seed (sperm) is perishable and the birth they generate is perishable but God's seed is imperishable and so when we are born of His seed He begets unto us His nature and that nature is a forever nature. Thus our new birth is into the sphere of forever...just another reason one needs to know God's Word to help them understand that they cannot be "unborn" (aka, "lose one's salvation") and but that they will live forever because God's everlasting, ever-living seed abides within them.

The apostle John writes that ...

No one who is born (perfect tense = speaks of permanence of this new birth = you cannot lose your salvation or be "unborn" beloved) of God practices (present tense  = continually) sin, because His seed abides (present tense  = continually) in him; and he cannot sin (present tense  = habitually), because he is born of God." (1Jn 3:9).

Human life is brought into being by means of seed that must obey physical laws of decay and death, but not so with the spiritual life implanted by the Holy Spirit Who uses the Word of God to produce this new life.

 

John Piper writes that...

 

Peter defines the imperishable seed as "the living and abiding word of God" (or makes the Word the instrument of the seed). So there's the point again. It is not only imperishable, it is living and abiding. That is, it lasts. It will not fail you. If this seed—this Word—has brought you into being by the new birth, you will stay in being. Again the point is hope... The Word of God that he is talking about is the gospel that has been preached to them—the good news that we have been reading about in this chapter—the ransom of the blood of Christ (1Pe 1:18-note; 1Pe 1:19-note) and the resurrection of Christ (1Pe 1:3-note, 1Pe 1:21-note), and the keeping power of God (1Pe 1:5-note), and the inheritance of God. All this good news was preached to them. And the point now in 1Pe 1:25 is that it is not like grass and flowers: it doesn't wither and fall; it abides forever. If this Word is your life, you live forever. The point is hope. (The Seed of the Word and the Fruit of Love)

 

Seed which is imperishable - Samuel Ridout writes that there are:
 

three incorruptible things we have in this first chapter—an incorruptible inheritance (1Pe 1:4-note), an incorruptible redemption (1Pe 1:18-note; 1Pe 1:19-note), and an incorruptible word by which we are born (1Pe 1:23-note). Thus we have a nature which is taintless, fitted for the enjoyment of a taintless inheritance and on the basis of a redemption which never can lose its value. How the stamp of eternal perfection is upon all, and what a fitting companion to these is that “incorruptible” ornament of a meek and quiet spirit (1Pe 3:4-note). (From "The Numerical Bible")

Imperishable (862) (aphthartos [word study] from a = negates what follows + phtheiro = to corrupt) describes that which cannot be ruined, that which is not subject to death and decay, that which endures forever.

Absolutely nothing can ruin your eternal inheritance beloved.

Paul uses aphthartos in the letter to the "sports crazed" Corinthians writing that

 

everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath (one that will wither), but we an imperishable (aphthartos - one that cannot wither)." (1Co 9:25)  (see notes)

 

The blessings of heaven that shall be bestowed on the righteous are often represented under the image of a crown, here one that is unfading.

 

Paul uses to aphthartos describe the believer's transformed, glorified, resurrection body writing

 

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable (aphthartos - free and immune from decay), and we shall be changed." (1 Cor 15:51)

Not only are all plant, animal and human seeds corruptible, but so is our own human flesh (1Cor 15:53). However, we have been redeemed not with the perishable but with the precious blood of Christ (1Pe 1:18 [note]; 1Pe 1:19 [note]) to an imperishable inheritance (1Pe 1:4 [note]), and imperishable body (1Co 15:53), and an imperishable crown (1Co 9:25), to serve an imperishable King (1Ti 1:17), all revealed and activated through the imperishable eternal, Word of God (1Pe 1:23-note).

Every stone of earth will crumble, every column will fall, every arch will collapse. Diamonds chip, gold wears away, but this inheritance of ours is a truly “imperishable” commodity and will endure forever.

Spurgeon draws the following application...

Now observe, to close, wherever this new life comes through the word, it is incorruptible, it lives and abides for ever. To get the good seed out of a true believer's heart and to destroy the new nature in him, is a thing attempted by earth and hell, but never yet achieved. Pluck the sun out of the firmament, and you shall not even then be able to pluck grace out of a regenerate heart. It "liveth and abideth for ever," saith the text; it neither can corrupt of itself nor be corrupted. "It sinneth not, because it is born of God." "I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." "The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." You have a natural life—that will die, it is of the flesh. You have a spiritual life—of that it is written: "'Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." You have now within you the noblest and truest immortality: you must live as God liveth, in peace and joy, and happiness.

But oh, remember, dear hearer, if you have not this you "shall not see life." What then—shall you be annihilated? Ah! no, but "the wrath of the Lord is upon you." You shall exist, though you shall not live. Of life you shall know nothing, for that is the gift of God in Christ Jesus; but of an everlasting death, full of torment and anguish, you shall be the wretched heritor—"the wrath of God abideth on him." You shall be cast into "the lake of fire, which is the second death." You shall be one of those whose "worm dieth not, and whose fire is not quenched."

May God, the ever-blessed Spirit, visit you! If he be now striving with you, O quench not his divine flame! Trifle not with any holy thought you have. If this morning you must confess that you are not born again, be humbled by it. Go and seek mercy of the Lord, entreat him to deal graciously with you and save you. Many who have had nothing but moonlight have prized it, and ere long they have had sunlight. Above all, remember what the quickening seed is, and reverence it when you hear it preached, "for this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." Respect it, and receive it. Remember that the quickening seed is all wrapped up in this sentence: "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." "He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (The Withering Work of the Spirit )

THROUGH THE LIVING AND ABIDING WORD OF GOD: dia logou zontos (PAPMSG) theou kai menontos (PAPMSG): (1Peter 1:25; Jeremiah 23:28; Matthew 24:35; John 6:63; Hebrews 4:12; James 1:18)

Related resources: Authority of God's Word; The Power of God's Word - A Simple Inductive Study

Living and abiding Word of God - Matthew Henry writes that

The word of God lives and abides for ever. This word is a living word, or a lively word, Hebrews 4:12. It is a means of spiritual life, to begin it and preserve in it, animating and exciting us in our duty, till it brings us to eternal life: and it is abiding; it remains eternally true, and abides in the hearts of the regenerate for ever.

Steven Cole notes that...

Wherever the Bible has gone and the good news about Jesus Christ recorded in the Bible has been preached, whether among a savage tribe or in a sophisticated, educated culture, the miracle of new birth has taken place. People are transformed inwardly by God’s power through His Word, not through human self-improvement.

A skeptic once told Gaylord Kambarami, the General Secretary of the Bible Society of Zimbabwe, “If you give me that New Testament will roll the pages and use them to make cigarettes!” Gaylord replied, “I understand that, but at least promise to read the page of the New Testament before you smoke it.” When the man agreed, Gaylord gave him the New Testament and that was the last he saw of him for 15 years.

Then, while Gaylord was attending a Methodist convention in Zimbabwe, the speaker on the platform suddenly spotted him, pointed him out to the audience and said, “This man doesn’t remember me, but 15 years ago he tried to sell me a New Testament. When I refused to buy it he gave it to me, even though I told him I would use the pages to roll cigarettes. I smoked Matthew and I smoked Mark and I smoked Luke. But when I got to John 3:16, I couldn’t smoke anymore. My life was changed from that moment!” That man is now a full- time evangelist, preaching the Word he once smoked! God uses His Word to bring the new birth! (Read Pastor Cole's entire excellent sermon)

The Spirit of God takes the living Word of God to produce eternal life. It is the truth of the gospel that saves, for as Jesus taught

It is the Spirit Who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. (John 6:63)

Abraham Lincoln addressed a group of African-Americans who had given him a special presentation Bible in 1864

"In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it."

So here Peter describes God's Word as a seed which is living and abiding which speaks of its ability to give new life, to grow that life and to sustain that life forever. The Word of God is also described metaphorically in several passages.

James says that God

In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures. (James 1:18-note)

Here the word of truth, is the instrument by which God brought about our new birth as "first fruits", which parallels the idea of the word as a seed.

In this same chapter James describes the Word as a mirror

But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25-note)

The writer of Hebrews uses metaphor of a sword which like a doctor's scalpel is able to supernaturally dissect explaining that

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (He 4:12-note)

In the OT Jeremiah pictures the the power inherent in God's Word recording Jehovah's question...

Is not My word like fire?" declares the LORD, "and like a hammer which shatters a rock? (Jeremiah 23:29)

The psalmist pictures God's Word as a light to guide us declaring...

Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.  (Psalm 119:105 - Spurgeon's Note).

Finally Paul pictures God's Word as the believers offensive weapon in spiritual war...

And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph 6:17-note)

The living and abiding word is also characterized a number of NT passages as the...

the word of His grace (Acts 14:3)

the word of the gospel (Acts 15:7)

the word of promise (Ro 9:9-note)

the word of the Cross (1Cor 1:18)

the word of reconciliation (2Co 5:19)

the word of life (Php 2:16 - note)

the word of truth (2Cor 6:7, Col 1:5-note)

the message of truth (Ep 1:13-note)

the word of His power (He 1:3-note)

the word of  righteousness (He 5:13-note)

the word of Christ (Ro 10:17-note; Col 3:16-note)

the word of the Lord (18x in NAS NT- Lk 22:61; Acts 8:25; 11:16; 12:24; 13:48, 49; 15:35, 36; 16:32; 19:10, 20; 1Th 1:8; 4:15; 2Th 3:1; 1Pe 1:25)

the word of God  (39x in NAS NT- Mt 15:6; Mk 7:13; Lk 3:2; 5:1; 8:11, 21; 11:28; Jn 10:35; Acts 4:31; 6:2, 7; 8:14; 11:1; 13:5, 7, 44, 46; 17:13; 18:11; Ro 9:6; 1Cor 14:36; 2Cor 2:17; 4:2; Ep 6:17; Php 1:14; Col 1:25; 1Th 2:13; 1Ti 4:5; 2Ti 2:9; Titus 2:5; Heb 4:12; 6:5; 11:3; 13:7; 1Pe 1:23; 2Pe 3:5; 1Jn 2:14; Re 1:2, 9; 6:9; 19:13; 20:4)

See the interesting A. W. Pink booklet on Profiting From the Word

C. H. Spurgeon's exhortation is applicable here...

'It is blessed, to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord, so that your blood is Bibline and the very essence of the Bible flows from you.'

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Spurgeon - Morning and Evening- Peter most earnestly exhorted the scattered saints to love each other "with a pure heart fervently" and he wisely fetched his argument, not from the law, from nature, or from philosophy, but from that high and divine nature which God hath implanted in his people. Just as some judicious tutor of princes might labour to beget and foster in them a kingly spirit and dignified behaviour, finding arguments in their position and descent, so, looking upon God's people as heirs of glory, princes of the blood royal, descendants of the King of kings, earth's truest and oldest aristocracy, Peter saith to them, "See that ye love one another, because of your noble birth, being born of incorruptible seed; because of your pedigree, being descended from God, the Creator of all things; and because of your immortal destiny, for you shall never pass away, though the glory of the flesh shall fade, and even its existence shall cease." It would be well if, in the spirit of humility, we recognized the true dignity of our regenerated nature, and lived up to it. What is a Christian? If you compare him with a king, he adds priestly sanctity to royal dignity. The king's royalty often lieth only in his crown, but with a Christian it is infused into his inmost nature. He is as much above his fellows through his new birth, as a man is above the beast that perisheth. Surely he ought to carry himself, in all his dealings, as one who is not of the multitude, but chosen out of the world, distinguished by sovereign grace, written among "the peculiar people" and who therefore cannot grovel in the dust as others, nor live after the manner of the world's citizens. Let the dignity of your nature, and the brightness of your prospects, O believers in Christ, constrain you to cleave unto holiness, and to avoid the very appearance of evil. (C H Spurgeon, Morning and Evening)

Divine, Ever-Living, Unchanging - But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (1 Peter 1:25)

All human teaching and, indeed, all human beings shall pass away as the grass of the meadow; but we are here assured that the Word of the Lord is of a very different character, for it shall endure forever.

We have here a divine gospel; for what word can endure forever but that which is spoken by the eternal God?

We have here an ever-living gospel, as full of vitality as when it first came from the lips of God; as strong to convince and convert, to regenerate and console, to sustain and sanctify as ever it was in its first days of wonder-working.

We have an unchanging gospel which is not today green grass and tomorrow dry hay but always the abiding truth of the immutable Jehovah. Opinions alter, but truth certified by God can no more change than the God who uttered it.

Here, then, we have a gospel to rejoice in, a word of the Lord upon which we may lean all our weight. "For ever" includes life, death, judgment, and eternity. Glory be to God in Christ Jesus for everlasting consolation. Feed on the word today and all the days of thy life.

 

1 Peter 1:24   For" ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS & ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS (3SAPI) & THE FLOWER FALLS OFF (AAI) (NASB: Lockman)

Greek dioti pasa sarx os chortos kai pasa doxa autes os anthos chortou exeranthe (3SAPI) o chortos kai to anthos exepesen; 
Analyzed Literal: For "All flesh [is] like grass, and all glory of humanity like [the] flower of grass; the grass withered, and its flower fell off,
Amplified: For all flesh (mankind) is like grass, and all its glory (honor) like [the] flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower drops off,
 (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: As the prophet says, "People are like grass that dies away; their beauty fades as quickly as the beauty of wildflowers. The grass withers, and the flowers fall away. (
NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest:  for every kind of flesh is as grass, and its every kind of glory is as the flower of grass. The grass withers away, and the flower falls off (
Eerdmans
Young's Literal: because all flesh is as grass, and all glory of man as flower of grass; wither did the grass, and the flower of it fell away,

FOR ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF: dioti pasa sarx os chortos kai pasa doxa autes os anthos chortou exeranthe (3SAPI) o chortos kai to anthos exepesen (3SAAI): (2Ki 19:26; Ps 37:2; 90:5; 92:7; 102:4; 103:15; 129:6; Isa 40:6-8; Jas 1:10,11; 4:14; 1Jn 2:17)

Flesh (4561)(sarx [word study]) is used 147 times in the NT and to give a simple definition of sarx is somewhat difficult because sarx has many nuances (some Greek lexicons list up to 11 definitions for sarx!). The diligent disciple must carefully observe the context of in order to discern which nuance is intended. The range of meaning extends from the substance flesh (both human and animal), to the human body, to the entire person, and to all humankind. Refer to notes on sarx for the 4 basic definitions of sarx in Strong's Lexicon.

All flesh is a comprehensive term referring to all of humanity (Mt 24:22 where "life" is sarx) or including both the human and animal creation (Ge 6:13).

Grass (5528) (chortos) refers to a feeding place for grazing animals and by metonymy as used here by Peter chortos refers to what grows there (grass, hay).

Withers (3583) (xeraino) literally dries out or becomes parched.

Flower (438) (anthos) refers to a blossom, and figuratively is a picture of that which does not last. Physical beauty is as short-lived as the flowers of the field, as even the glamorous stars in Hollywood are eventually forced to acknowledge!

Falls off (1601) (ekpipto from ek = out, from + pipto = fall) literally is to to fall from some point, here picturing withering blossoms falling to the ground, which in turn pictures the idea of perishing forever.

Matthew Henry...

Man, in his utmost flourish and glory, is still a withering, fading, dying creature. Take him singly, all flesh is grass. In his entrance into the world, in his life and in his fall, he is similar to grass, Job 14:2 ("Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain"). Take him in all his glory, even this is as the flower of grass; his wit, beauty, strength, vigour, wealth, honour—these are but as the flower of grass, which soon withers and dies away. The only way to render this perishing creature solid and incorruptible is for him to entertain and receive the word of God; for this remains everlasting truth, and, if received, will preserve him to everlasting life, and abide with him for ever.

Thomas Gray penned “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” at a cemetery near Stoke Poges, a little village not far from Windsor Castle, England. One stanza of that poem describes well what Peter is saying:

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike the inevitable hour,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Man’s glory simply does not last, but God’s glory is eternal and He has deigned to share that glory with us! Let us live for His glory!

Flowers as beautiful as they be for a moment are destined for destruction. It is therefore foolish to place one's trust in anything temporal. Trust what God says for it alone is enduring, and trustworthy.

Spurgeon in a sermon to his congregation instructed them...

Brethren, look around you. To what shall we compare this immense assembly? As I look upon the many colors, and the varied faces, even if it were not in the text, I am certain that a meadow thickly besprinkled with flowers would rise up before my imagination. Look at the mass of people gathered together, and doth it not remind you of the field in its full summer glory, when the king-cups, daisies, cloves, and grass blooms, are sunning themselves in countless varieties of beauty? Ay, but not only in the poet's eye is there a resemblance, but in the mind of God, and in the experience of man.

All flesh is grass - all that is born of the first birth, if we compare it to grass in poetry, may be compared to it also in fact, from the frailty and shortness of its existence. We passed the meadows but a month ago, and they were moved in verdant billows by the breeze like waves of ocean when they are softly stirred with the evening gale. We looked upon the whole scene, and it was exceeding fair. We passed it yesterday and the mower's scythe had cut asunder beauty from its roots, and there it lay in heaps ready to be gathered when fully dry. The grass is cut down so soon, but if it stood, it would wither, and handfuls of dust would take the place of the green and coloured leaves, for doth not the grass wither and the flowers thereof fall avidly?

Such is mortal life. We are not living, brethren, we are dying. We begin to breathe, and we make the number of our breaths the less. Our pulse is "beating funeral marches to the tomb." The sand runs down from the upper bulb of the glass, and it is emptying fast. Death is written upon every brow.

Man, know that thou art mortal, for thou all art born of woman. Thy first birth gave thee life and death together. Thou dost only breathe awhile to keep thee from the jaws of the grave, when that breath is spent, into the dust of death thou tallest there and then.

Everything, especially during the last few weeks, has taught us the frailty of human life. The senator who guided the affairs of nations and beheld the rise of a free kingdom, lived not to see it fully organized, but expired with many a weighty secret unspoken. The judge who has sentenced many, receives his own sentence at the last. From this earth, since last we met together, master-minds have been taken away, and even the monarch on his throne has owned the monarchy of Death. How many of the masses too have fallen, and have been carried to their long home! There hav e been funerals, some of them funerals of honored men who perished doing their Master's will in saving human life, and alas, there have been unhonoured burials of others who did the will of Satan, and have inherited the flame. There have been deaths abundant on the right hand and on the left, and well have Peter's words been proved—"All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof is as the flower of the field; the grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away." (1 Peter 1:23-25: The New Nature )

 

1 Peter 1:25  BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ABIDES (PAI) FOREVER." And this is (PAI) the word which was preached (APP) to you (NASB: Lockman)

Greek to de rhema kuriou menei (3SPAI) eis ton aiona. touto de estin (3SPAI) to rhema to euaggelisthen (APPNSN) eis humas 
Analyzed Literal: but the word of the LORD remains into the age [fig., forever]." Now this is the word, the Gospel having been proclaimed to you*. [Isaiah 40:6-8]
Amplified: But the Word of the Lord (divine instruction, the Gospel) endures forever. And this Word is the good news which was preached to you.
 (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: But the word of the Lord will last forever." And that word is the Good News that was preached to you. (
NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest:  but the Word of the Lord abides forever. And this is the Word which in the declaration of the good news was preached to you. (
Eerdmans
Young's Literal: and the saying of the Lord doth remain -- to the age; and this is the saying that was proclaimed good news to you.

BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ABIDES FOREVER: to de rhema kuriou menei (3SPAI) eis ton aiona: (1Pe 1:23; Ps 102:12,26; 119:89; Isa 40:8; Mt 5:18; Lk 16:17)

Word (4487) (rhema from verb rheo = to speak - to say, speak or utter definite words) refers to the spoken word, especially a word as uttered by a living voice.

Read the Bible as if God were speaking to you. He is!
The more you read it, the more you love it
The more you love it, the more you read it.
If you're too busy to read the Bible, you're too busy.

Laleo is another word translated speak but it refers only to uttering a sound whereas rheo refers to uttering a definite intelligible word. Rhema refers to any sound produced by the voice which has a definite meaning. It focuses upon the content of the communication. For example in Luke we read...

And they understood none of these things, and this saying (rhema) was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said. (Luke 18:34)

Rhema is used to refer to "the thing spoken of", an object, a matter, an affair or an event. For example we read in Luke 1:65

And fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters [rhema] were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea.

(Compare to) But Mary treasured up all these things (rhema), pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

Rhema in the NT can exhibit several nuances of meaning depending on the context --

a prophecy ("that you should remember the words - rhema - spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles." see note 2 Peter 3:2),

a charge against one (Mt 27:14 Jesus "did not answer him with regard to even a single charge" - rhema), a message (Ro 10:8 "But what does it say? "THE WORD - rhema - IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART"-- that is, the word - rhema -  of faith which we are preaching,"),

a promise (Lk 2:29 "Now Lord, Thou dost let Thy bond-servant depart In peace, according to Thy word",  Lk 1:38 And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.), 

a command (Mt 4:4 "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word - rhema - that proceeds from the mouth of God"; Luke 5:5 And Simon answered and said, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but at Your bidding - rhema - I will let down the nets.")

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The Word of God

THIS BOOK contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers.

Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.

Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe and practice it to be holy.

It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you.

It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword and the Christian's character.

Here paradise is restored, heaven opened and the gates of hell disclosed.

Christ is its grand object, our good is its design and the glory of God its end.

It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet.

Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully.

It is given you in life and will be opened in the judgment and will be remembered forever.

It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents."

— Anonymous (found on the flyleaf of an old Bible)

Abides forever -  If the seed, the Word, abides forever, it follows that the new life of believers is equally eternally enduring.

Spurgeon writes...

Oh, children of God, I know not any subject that ought more thoroughly to lift you out of yourselves than this. Now let the divine nature live in you; come, put down the animal for a moment, put down the mere mental faculty; let the living spark blaze up; come, let the divine element, the newborn nature that God has given to you, let that now speak, and let its voice be praise; let it look up and let it breathe its own atmosphere, the heaven of God, in which it shall shortly rejoice. O God, our Father, help us to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, seeing that we have by thine own self been quickened to an immortal life. (1 Peter 1:23-25: The New Nature )

The Bible is not static, but living and abiding forever. It has confounded its critics for 3,500 years. Emperor Diocletian tried to eradicate it and in 303 A.D. he proclaimed an edict requiring Christians to destroy their Bibles but within 25 years, the next emperor ordered 50 copies be made and distributed at government expense! Atheists have failed to stamp it out.

Voltaire, the French atheist (1778) boasted that within 100 hundred years of his  lifetime, Christianity would be swept from earth but only 50 years after his death, his own printing press and house were being used by the Geneva Bible Society to produce Bibles! God does have a sense of humor! As recently as 1899, atheist Robert Ingersoll said: "In twenty five years the Bible will be a forgotten book." No, Peter says "living & abiding."

AND THIS IS THE WORD (gospel) WHICH WAS PREACHED TO YOU: touto de estin (3SPAI) to rhema to euaggelisthen (APPNSN) eis humas: (1Peter 1:12; 2:2; Jn 1:1,14; 1Co 1:21, 22, 23, 24; 2:2; 15:1, 2, 3, 4; Eph 2:17; 3:8; Titus 1:3; 2Pe 1:19; 1Jn 1:1,3)

The Word - This Word is incorruptible message of the Gospel of our salvation which when preached is used by the Spirit to cause sinners to be supernaturally born again into saints. For in depth discussion of verses that most succinctly define the gospel 1Co 15:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6- see notes on 1Co 15:1;  15:2; 15:3; 15:4; 15:5; 15:6 ; 15:7; 15:8)

Matthew Henry...

The prophets and apostles preached the same doctrine. This word which Isaiah and others delivered in the Old Testament is the same which the apostles preached in the New.

Comment: Abraham was saved by faith in the gospel as were all the other true believers in the Old Testament. Cf Galatians 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED IN YOU."

Peter is using a figure of speech to illustrate the imperishability of God's Word in contrast to human flesh and man's 'glorious' achievements. This truth should motivate us to read and meditate (Ps 119:97, Ps 1:2, Josh 1:8) on the unchangeable (Proverbs 30:5) living word of God in the midst of a world which is passing away (1Jn 2:17).

Peter quotes Isaiah 40:6-8 where the word is the future message of salvation in the time when God would redeem his people (e.g., Isaiah 52:7, 8).

A voice says, "Call out." Then he answered, "What shall I call out?" All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:6, 7, 8)

Isaiah presents a glorious affirmation of the absolute sufficiency and the eternal existence of God's word. Nature will decay, human flesh will grow frail, and circumstances will change, but God's word remains like an everlasting anchor for our souls, an anchor which is both sure and steadfast. God's Word gives absolute promises from the Unchangeable God which certainly will be accomplished in His perfect timing. Human words are fleeting, making their impact for a moment and then dying in the mists of history, but God's Word never dies and thus it manifests eternal authority. We can count on Scripture when all else fails.

As J Vernon McGee says...

My friend, we need the preaching and the teaching of the Word of God above everything else. I do not mean to minimize the place of music, the place of methods, and the place of organization, but there is absolutely no substitute for the Word of God today. “The word of the Lord endureth for ever. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary:  Thomas Nelson or Logos)

Steven Cole explains that...

Peter quotes from Isaiah 40:6, 7, 8 (from the Septuagint - LXX) to support his point. In the context, Isaiah was writing prophetically to God’s people who had been taken into captivity in Babylon, comforting them that God would fulfill His promises by restoring them to the land. Babylon, outwardly, was one of the most impressive and powerful kingdoms on the face of the earth. The hanging gardens were considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. The walls of Babylon seemed impenetrable. But Isaiah says, “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls off; but the Word of the Lord abides forever.” In other words, don’t be fooled by the outward impressiveness of Babylon. It will fade like a flower, but God’s Word will stand forever! Of course, God’s Word through Isaiah proved true. In case they missed the point, Peter adds, “This is the word which was preached as good news to you.” Thus when you are suffering in an alien world that looks glamorous and seems lasting, don’t be fooled. It will fade and perish; but the new birth you possess through God’s Word will abide forever. This new birth, marked by purity of soul in obedience to the truth, which takes place through God’s imperishable Word, is the basis for the command Peter gives to love one another (1Pe 1:22-note)

I’ve developed this definition of biblical love:

Biblical love is a self-sacrificing, caring commitment which shows itself in seeking the highest good of the one loved.

Thus it is not a sentimental feeling, like so much modern love, since at its core it is a commitment. It does not mean always being “nice,” since sometimes the commitment to seek a person’s highest good involves confronting them in a way that causes pain. If I have a choice between a doctor who is nice and who gives lots of hugs, and who sends me out the door feeling good; and another doctor who says, “Steve, I’m going to be honest: You’re very sick. The cure will be painful, but it will make you well”; give me the second doctor. He’s the one who really loves me! He’s willing to confront the sickness in my life and he’s committed to helping me get better. Love is always caring, even when it must confront. It is not devoid of feelings of compassion and tenderness. It often involves sacrifice on the part of the one extending it. The highest good for anyone, of course, is that he comes under the lordship of Christ so that his life gives glory to Him.

Peter describes this love here in three ways: First, it is a sincere love. The word means “not hypocritical” (see Ro 12:9; 2Cor. 6:6; 1John 3:18). Biblical love is not affirming and gushy to a person’s face but then disparaging of him when he’s not around. It’s not manipulative, trying to butter a person up for one’s own advantage, while in your heart you despise him. Biblical love doesn’t try to use someone for the “connection” for personal gain. Second, it is a clean love. There is strong manuscript evidence for the reading, “fervently love one another from a clean heart” (1Peter 1:22).

In other words, love is not for impurity, such as sexual favors. Neither should it be a camaraderie because of common sinful pursuits, such as going out drinking or partying together. You cannot love if you harbor unconfessed sin in your heart. It must stem from a clean heart.

Third, it must be a fervent love. This word stems from a verb meaning to stretch out or strain. It implies effort and emotion. It is used of Jesus’ fervent prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44) and of the church’s fervent prayer for Peter when he was in prison facing execution (Acts 12:5). It shows that while love is an emotion, it is more than an emotion. It can be commanded and thus involves the will. It involves hard work and effort. It’s not always easy. But it is required as a crucial part of the outworking of our salvation.

Conclusion - I want to conclude by asking two important questions:

First, Have you truly been born again, not just in the American cliche sense, but has God’s Spirit imparted spiritual life to you?

You ask, “How can I know for sure?” There are several tests given in the Bible, but the test which comes from our text (and is developed repeatedly in 1 John) is, “Do you obey God’s truth?” It’s not that you never sin, but is the desire and bent of your life to please the Savior who loved you and gave Himself for you? It will be impossible for you to love others as God wants you to do if you have not been born again. So you must put your trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord as the primary matter.

Second, Are you working at loving as you should?

That may sound like a contradiction, since our culture says that you either have love or you don’t and there’s not much you can do about it. But God’s Word says that if we’ve been born again we must work at having a sincere love, a clean love, and a fervent love, especially toward other Christians. You may need to begin at home or with an extended family member. It may be someone in this church. But if you’ve received the new birth, you’ve got to work at the new love. Christians must love because they have been born again through God’s imperishable Word of truth. (Copyright 1992, Steven J. Cole, All Rights Reserved) (Read Pastor Cole's entire excellent sermon) (Bolding added)

Ray Pritchard asks...

So how does God teach us to love? By putting us around unlovely people. There is no other way to learn to love. If you only hang around nice, sweet, fun people, you’ll never learn to love. That’s why God has some of you in marriages to some very difficult people. That’s why you’re working around some people you don’t particularly like. You can only learn to love by being around hard-to-love people. And God is the one who arranged it.

I told you a few weeks ago that your marriage isn’t about you or your spouse. And it’s not about your happiness or your sexual fulfillment. Your marriage is about God. The next week I told you that your sexuality is not about you. It’s all about God. Today I’m simply adding the fact that true brotherly love isn’t about you or your friends or your family. It’s not about the people you like or don’t like. It’s all about God. Until you see that and come to believe and rest upon it, you’ll never have the sort of brotherly love that really goes the distance.

And so with God’s help, we will never stop loving, never stop believing, never stop serving, and we will never stop standing for the truth. It’s not about us. It’s all about God. Amen. (
See sermon - Love One Another Deeply)

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