22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever (I Peter 1:22-23)
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth”
I’ve written before about following the commands of Christ and being obedient to His will, but what the Apostle Peter tells us here is of paramount importance. Obedience to Christ in obeying the truth purifies our soul. Have you ever heard or read that before? Or did that part pass you by the last time you read Peter’s first epistle? I don’t think it’s ever struck me quite the same way as it did today reading it.
Yes, we know that Christ’s shed blood was the price for our salvation if we have chosen to accept His glorious gift. But did you think in these terms that obedience to the truth purifies your soul?
So what truth can Peter be writing about? Peter goes on to talk about our conduct in this world. Acting in love towards one another and that’s an important aspect. Do you think that recognition and separation from this world is part of it? I do. How else do you relate the aspect of this truth that we need to be obedient to? Everything we say, do and think is judged whether it be of the Kingdom or not. In light of this Scripture, isn’t purifying our soul and keeping it purified an imperative aspect of our walk with Christ?
Good morning Al. Seeing that I hadn’t had any agenda this Sunday morning, I’ve spent some time considering your thoughts above.
In answer to your question- no I don’t believe I really looked at it quite that way. I read this chapter a couple of times and it appears the word “soul” is quoted numerous times by Peter. The Greek word used here is translated many ways to include heart, life, mind, person and in this case soul.
One of the things I noticed in this chapter I notice in most writing of the apostles. First, God acts in initiating something- here our salvation and yet we are called to believe Him- to respond to what He initiates. As we continue to walk in faith He continues to reveal Himself and this process only ends when we meet Him face to face.
God commands many things along this journey and our usefulness to God necessitates we remain obedient to His ongoing revelation. In other words, how can I truly love the brethren from the heart, from the place that remains unpurified? A similar verse is found in Matthew 18:35 and relates to forgiving others from our heart. We might ask, “How can I truly forgive others from a heart that remains unpure?”
I believe the key to these verses and your questions are found in verse 23 where it says…..for you have been born again not of…..but. Here we have a contrast between what originates in God and what we are naturally. We have no inate ability in ourselves to love or forgive although we can easily pretend to do that through various motions or gestures. This we know falls woefully short of His intentions for us. God is going deeper, He searches the thoughts and intentions of the heart, the seat of our affections, the reasons why we act in the manner in which we do. It is the word which was preached to us (vs.25) and our embracing of it that allows our spirit to transcend the natural (vs.24) that propels us to be genuine one to another, to love and forgive in a manner consistent with Jesus Himself.
It is only those who continually obey God’s revelation along the journey that will ever become the people He desires and ultimately become like Him- from the heart. It’s easy to say we love and forgive others. But is that the testimony of others who peer into our souls?
Thanks for the thought provokong word Al. We need more of this kind of interaction.
There are many things to key off here. A couple though. “It is only those who continually obey God’s revelation along the journey that will ever become the people He desires and ultimately become like Him- from the heart.” Amen brother!
“I believe the key to these verses and your questions are found in verse 23”
I see vs 23 as Peter culminating the idea of purifying ourselves through obedience. He wrote “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth…through the word of God which abides forever.” But the contrast as you say is there.
Here’s what I got out of it:
The proof that we are wholly fit and prepared to serve the Lord is that we fervently love the brethren.
Conversely, we know that our souls [mind, will, and emotions] are not purified, if this love is not evident.
A right soul is indication of a right heart.
P.S. Thinks for bringing this verse to mind, by the way …