I PETER 1:22-25: “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, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: When I think of my salvation, do I understand the full impact it is to have on my life? Am I merely saved so that I can go to heaven? Did I have anything to do with my salvation? Do I have any role to play in the salvation of others?
As we ponder these questions we need to understand three important things that pertain to our salvation. They are,
THE ORIGIN, THE EVIDENCE, AND THE AGENT!
Peter gives us the answer to all three of these in the first chapter of his first epistle. Our salvation is fully a gift from God. We brought nothing to God that would redeem us from our sins. Our good works could not redeem us. Our offerings or acts of worship could not redeem us. The only thing that could redeem us is the precious blood of Jesus Christ!
- “…Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” I Peter 1:18-21 NKJV
Anything we have to bring to God is corruptible. This is why Jesus became a man and walked among us. He came to be the perfect, spotless, Lamb of God. He came to bear our penalty for sin and offer up His own blood, once and for all, for our redemption. God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, raised Him up, and glorified Him so that our faith in hope would be in God alone. Salvation is a work of God’s grace and mercy. Jesus Christ alone is the origin of our salvation!
From this indisputable fact, Peter pivots to consider the evidence of our salvation.
- “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…”
I believe Peter was recalling Jesus’ words when He said,
- “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 NKJV
Love for others, especially for the brethren in Christ, is the evidence of a redeemed heart. Jesus said it would be the distinguishing evidence of being a child of God. Peter goes on to exhort us all to grow in our love for one another fervently with a pure heart.
When we are first born again we are like small children. Small children are fully unaware of race, political differences, or socio-economic strata. They will easily and quickly embrace and befriend any child they meet. We are like this when we are born again. We are overcome with the love of Christ and begin to overflow in our love for one another.
As we continue in our walk of faith we can return to previous patterns of our old life. Just as a child’s view of others can become corrupted by what they are taught, so a believer’s sincere love for the brethren can be tainted by gossip, taking on offenses, and unforgiveness. It is any wonder why the enemy tries to sow discord among the brethren. He is trying to erase the very evidence of our salvation! We need to grow in our sincere love for one another.
The last thing Peter reminds us of in this first chapter is the agent of our salvation. Jesus is the origin. Love is the evidence. What is the agent?
- “…Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.”
We did not just wake up one day and find that we were born again. We heard the word of truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit breathed upon the Word of God and we believed. As we embraced the Word of God we were born again by the Holy Spirit. We became the recipients of the wonderful gift of salvation that was purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ!
This is where we have the privilege of participating in God’s wonderful plan of salvation. We could not offer anything to God to purchase our salvation. However, we can offer the Good News of Jesus Christ to others so they too can be born again by the incorruptible seed of God’s Word! In fact, if we do not take the Gospel to the world, how will anyone be able to receive the incorruptible word that can save their souls?
- “For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher (messenger)? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:13-15 NKJV
As I think of these three things, the origin, the evidence, and the agent of salvation, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and God’s call. God did not save me simply so that I could go to heaven. God saved me, filled me with the Holy Spirit, and called me to proclaim His Word, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to others so that they might also believe and receive eternal life.
This responsibility, this privilege, this call, is not that of the pastor or evangelist alone. It is the call of everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord. We have been saved so that we can extend the life-saving, incorruptible, Word of God to others. This is the supreme expression of God’s love working through us!
- “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” II Corinthians 5:20-21 NKJV
Lord, help me to be filled with Your love in such an overflowing way that I am compelled to be Your ambassador, pleading with others – “…be reconciled to God!”
In Jesus Name!