Love One Another…Deeply

“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.” (1 Peter 1:22)

Much to the dismay of our nature and even more so to that of our fallen culture, it’s an amazing Truth that obedience and love go hand in hand!

The Greek word from where we get our word and response of confession literally means, “to agree with.” That’s powerful if you think about it. I’ve recognized that my sin(s) or fault(s) have come against God’s Truth and I’m now willing to admit them and turn in agreement with His Truth rather than my “truth” that was wrong. This is the first step in true heart change if it is Godly and sincere as we found is needed in the Corinthians passage earlier. This is true confession!

As we near the end of these “one anothers” and how we’re called and commanded to treat and not treat one another in love we find that Peter and John, the 2 disciples that were closest to Jesus have a couple of repeated “one anothers.” However, the most repeated command is the one that sums all of these up and we touch on it today.

Peter had a lot to learn about how to truly Love…and by all indications he got the message. In his first letter to the church he writes, “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. (1 Peter 1:22) It began with obedience and we know that he had some tough lessons when it came to this but under The Lord’s gracious leading, Peter was restored…and learned to love!

In 1 Peter 3:8 and 4:8 we are commanded to “…Love one another deeply, from the heart” (3:8) for “love covers a multitude of sins” (4:8). Remember Peter was the disciple who ultimately became the leader or spokesperson for the group in beginning the Church on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). This was the same Peter who was brash and often impulsive in his responses to Christ and others. Today we’d call Peter a “type A” personality… maybe even a AA or A+!

He was the one who proclaimed he would never forsake Christ and then denied him 3 times in the most trying time of Christ’s life. In shame he ran away and wept bitterly.

This was the same Peter that Christ restored with 3 probing questions that were essentially the same but the last one slighty different in the Greek. We find these questions in John 21:15-17 where Jesus gets to the heart of the matter for Peter…and all of us.

The first 2 times that Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” the word “love” in the Greek is “agapao” which means preferring God above all other (fulfilling the 1st and greatest command) and the only way we can truly love others. Peter’s response was all he knew at that time, and especially after denying Christ, “you know that I love (phileo – brotherly, human love) you.”

The final time Jesus asked He used “phileo” for love impressing upon Peter that there was a greater love for him to still know and grow in…and that’s what Christ came to give us so we could give to others.

Peter in writing his letters to the churches is now describing the kind of Godly love, known only in Christ, that we are to extend and selflessly give to our brothers and sisters in Christ. In the first reference (1 Peter 3:8), he describes phileo for fellow believers. However, in 1 Peter 4:8, the command reveals to us that this can only be done in “agape” or Godly Love, preferring God above all others, so that we can love them no matter what!

I think Peter has learned the lesson Christ was questioning him about in John 21 and is the perfect person for the Holy Spirit to help us more fully understand this kind of Love that conceals many sins and help us grow together in the Love of Christ.

How do you love your brothers and sisters in Christ? How about those in your own family…spouse, children, extended family? How does your love for others reflect on Christ and His Love?

We are called by The Holy Spirit through Peter who learned what love actually is in direct intimate relationship with Jesus as to how to love deeply as we are loved in Christ and in all things. May this kind of love be evidence of Christ’s Love in and through us so many more will come to know Him, His salvation and Love in and through us.

Food for Thought…God’s Word is crystal clear that we can’t love apart for Him in Christ. What is your love for Him and others based on…your feelings, hormones and circumstances? Or do you deeply love from the well of God’s Word and Truth…just as He has loved you in Christ and through His Cross?

Action Steps…

  1. Spend time with God and in His Word, prayer and listening every day…begin with the Scriptures in this message.
  2. Ask The Holy Spirit to teach you.
  3. Check the “fruit” of your relationships…with God and with others…to see if they are producing a love in keeping with His Word and will.   
  4. Take time to either continue to grow in His love in and through you or change from your fleshly emotions to His Truth in Love…whichever is called for.  

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Love and Lordship Prayer Focus Heavenly Father, the world teaches that love is a feeling and my flesh tends to run after that. Help me to understand that to love as you love…deeply…that it begins and ends with showing you that love by my obedience.  In Jesus Name. Amen.