Friday, April 28, 2017

1 Peter 1:17-23 Loving from a Pure Heart

KEY TEXT: 1 Peter 1:22-23 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.

KEY THOT: The goal of our sanctification through our obedience to the word of God is love. The more godly a person is, the more he or she can love earnestly "from a pure heart". How do we know if we have a pure heart? Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Mt 5:8). The pure in heart is motivated by the desire to see God in everything and everyone. It is a heart that seeks to promote God's kingdom and will, not one's church, organization or ministry. 

When we operate out of a pure heart, we impart life, not guilt or condemnation or death. Proverbs 4:23 therefore exhorts us to "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." If our heart is pure, every spring that flows out of it is pure and gives life. If our heart is corrupted, every spring is impure and brings death--even love can become insincere and brings death rather than life if our heart desires, motives and attitudes are impure.

It is possible therefore to be outwardly loving, giving ourselves to spiritual services and worship without a pure heart. If not, Peter would not need to qualify his exhortation to love one another "from a pure heart". Jesus called the Pharisees and scribes hypocrites because they were performing their religious duties and worship from an impure heart: "You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from mein vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'" (Matthew 15:7-9). God is looking at our heart rather than just our outward performance. So Peter exhorts us that even in our love for one another, it must flow out of a pure heart, otherwise it is insincere--hypocritical.

What are some manifestations of a impure heart? Jesus listed them for us in Mark 7:21-23, "For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person." This is a checklist for the state of our heart. If we are motivated by above desires, our heart needs to be cleansed.

Peter says believers are "purified... by obedience to the truth". If we walk by the Spirit, He will lead us into all truth and impart to us new motivations, new desires and new attitudes that do not seek to use others to meet our own needs but to seek to meet others' needs in order that God might be seen in them and through them. The only love that is pure and sincere is the one that desire only to "see God" bloom in every brother or sister we serve. It is not sincere love if we express love only to meet our personal, our corporate or ministry needs to make ourselves successful.

May the Lord purify our hearts from wrong motives, desires and attitudes. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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