“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures for ever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.” 1 Peter 1: 22-25, NIV
Yesterday, we read that we, as believers, are new beings, bought by the precious blood of Christ on the cross. Our faith and our hope is now resting in God. In today’s passage, we see what a difference faith in Christ brings to our lives.
In verse 24, Peter is quoting Isaiah 40:6 and 8. The former person’s life is like grass. The old life may have beauty like a flower for a short while, but like the grass, it withers and like the bloom, it falls. A human being’s time on earth, measured against the flow of eternity, is but a short while, and it passes so quickly.
Compared to the temporary nature of our short lives on earth stands the eternal message of the Gospel of Christ. Believers are people who were purified by the Lord, obeying the truth, living in love. Verse 24 states that our hope in Christ is never to perish, spoil or fade. God is preserving this hope for us in heaven until the day he comes to carry us home. This transition between the old and the new life comes when we are born again: when the truth of Christ comes to set us free, when the imperishable seed of the Gospel, the living and enduring Word of God takes ownership of us. We have come to know Christ as Lord of our lives, and we know that his sacrifice for us is acceptable to God.
The new life in Christ consists of new relationships. We do not live for ourselves any more. We now belong to God, and we live to his glory. His love overflows in our lives, and extends to the people around us. We are called to love our neighbours as God loves them. This is still a challenge for us, this is what Jesus meant when he said the road is narrow.
As new creations, image bearers of God, we are called to live a life of love. God is love, so we read in 1 John 4:16. If God is love, and we are transformed to be his image bearers, then we are called to love. Jesus commanded us to love one another, as he has loved us. We see this in John 13:34 and John 15:12. Our love must be more than mere words. It must grow from a newly transformed heart. As Peter commands – “love one another deeply, from the heart”. You probably feel like me right now – we are not there yet! It is very difficult to love all people as we imagine Christ to love them. This shows us the need for sanctification in our own lives, to allow God to transform our lives, expanding our love for others. This is a lifelong process of growth. Love is the first fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We grow in it.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord that my life is not withering like grass any more and for the hope that never perishes, spoils or fades. Thank you for the gift of eternal life. Transform my life through the power of your Spirit, increase my capacity to love like Christ, deeply, from the heart. Amen