Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 5 Study # 1
July 5, 2009
22 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:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
1901 ASV Translation:
22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently:
23 having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth.
24 For, All flesh is as grass, And all the glory thereof as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower falleth:
25 But the word of the Lord abideth for ever. And this is the word of good tidings which was preached unto you.
- I. The Prior Context.
- A. Immediate.
- 1. Live the sojourner's life before the impartial Father in the fear of violating the "point" of your redemption.
- 2. Live in actual redemption from the "traditional, vain, manner of life".
- B. Intermediate.
- 1. Focus upon the coming grace as children of obedience in light of the former lusts (1:13-16).
- 2. The coming grace is such a contrary concept of suffering unto glory that those initially involved in announcing it wanted very much to understand it (1:10-12).
- 3. Rejoicing is not to be undercut by being subject to manifold trials (1:6-9).
- 4. Great mercy has produced an incorruptible inheritance (1:3-5).
- C. Overarching: True Grace (5:12).
- II. The Present Thesis.
- A. Love one another.
- B. Submission to incorruptible Truth leads to abiding reality.
- III. The Details.
- A. The "command" (Love one another) is rooted in the "purification" of the soul.
- 1. The concept of "purification" was initially rooted in the sacrificial system where the fact of a "need" was clearly established. This means that everyone clearly recognized the biblical claim that men live at a level of pollution that prevents them from simply walking into the temple of God -- with particular recognition that the "Holy Place" was to be inviolate and that the "Holiest of All" was even more critical. This also means that the practices of "legal purification" were, in the best case scenario, only outward shadows of the necessary reality.
- 2. The focus upon the "soul" as the object of purification is emphasized by James who calls it "purification of the heart" but roots it in "double-mindedness", a concept that is expressed by a compound word that means "having two souls" (James 4:8). This is likely caused by the reality that the heart is focused upon what is valuable and the soul is the arbiter of how those values will be pursued. When the soul cannot "make up its mind", it is considered "doubled". This suggests that sometimes the soul will "go with Truth" and sometimes it will revert back to the entrenched delusions. This produces a recognized, and intolerable, hypocrisy.
- 3. The method of "purification" is identified: submission to the Truth. This is "hearing" with the subsequent submission to what has been heard. Obviously, the thing heard was "Truth" and the response was "faith". It is impossible, though done all the time, to wed "faith" to "refusal to do what is required". It is true that some forms of "faith" have little impact upon one's particular "actions" because the thing that is "believed" does not require "action". If one "believes" that a deposit has been made in that one's bank account of a large sum of money, the "faith" requires no "action", but it certainly affects the attitude of the "believer". By the same token, if one "believes" that one's bank account has been drained of all funds, there is no inherent "action" required of that "faith", but, again, it has all manner of impact upon the attitude of the "believer". But, on the other hand, there are some "truths" that automatically sponsor certain actions if they are "believed". For example, if a promise is made that if one takes a certain step toward a sought-for objective the one taking the step will receive the objective, "faith" will automatically sponsor the step.
- a. Technically, "faith" is not a "belief plus action" reality. The biggest problem men have with understanding "faith" is the "belief leads to action" reality. In technical reality, "faith" simply accepts the declared reality as "truth". What happens after that is totally dependent upon other factors, the chief of which is the value system of the heart. "Faith" will sponsor one kind of action over another if the issue in view is valued at the level of the heart. But, one can "believe" a thing to be Truth without much effect because the heart is disengaged from the things that that Truth engages.