FROM 1 PETER 1:22-25
Before noting those seven truths, please consider the entire text of this passage: "(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."
#1 – The word of God is "the truth." That which is called "the word of God" in verse 23 is identified in verse 22 as "the truth." Jesus said to the Father, "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17). This forever settles the question, "What is truth?" (John 18:38). Since God’s word is our truth, then we need to begin with it and stick with it in all of our spiritual matters. Also, anything that contradicts that truth must be false for truth cannot contradict itself. And, if it contradicts God’s truth, then we must reject it!
#2 – God’s word, the truth, can be obeyed. Those to whom Peter wrote had already obeyed it (22). To say that it is possible to obey the truth implies that there is an objective standard of truth, and that such a standard is understandable – how could a person obey it from the heart/mind without first understanding it?! (Romans 6:17,18). Such reminds us of the Master’s words, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
#3 – Obeying God’s word purifies the soul. That is what the text indicates in verse 22: "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth." Because that is the case, we should never belittle the importance of obedience. Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all those that obey Him (Hebrews 5:9). True, we cannot earn our salvation, but no purifying of the soul takes place without man’s obedience.
On another occasion the apostle Peter declared that God purified the hearts of Gentile converts "by faith" (Acts 15:9). Obviously, if the Bible states that one’s heart or soul is purified "by faith," and at the same time the Bible says that such purifying comes about by "obeying the truth," then the type of "faith" that purifies must be an obedient faith. Let us never lose sight of the horrible consequence of one not obeying the truth or gospel: such a one will be the sad recipient of "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord" (2 Thessalonians 1:8,9).
#4 – The word of God is incorruptible seed (23). In explaining His parable of the sower Jesus said, "The seed is the word of God" (Luke 8:11). And just what kind of seed is it? "Incorruptible." The Greek word from which "incorruptible" is translated in 1 Peter 1:23, "aphthartos" (Üöèáñôïò), means “uncorrupted, not liable to corruption or decay, imperishable” [Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, p. 88]. That same Greek word is also used earlier in the text of 1 Peter chapter one to describe the "incorruptible" inheritance that awaits Christians in heaven (1:4). To what extent heaven will be incorruptible, that is how incorruptible the word of God is.
#5 – It is by the word of God that one is born again. "Being born again . . . by the word of God . . ." (23). The children of God are those that are born "of God" (John 1:12,13). Jesus told Nicodemus that a person must be "born again" in order to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). He also told Nicodemus, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). 1 Peter 3:21 demonstrates that the water is the water of baptism, while 1 Peter 1:23 shows that it is by means of the word of God, which is the sword of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), that a person is born again.
#6 – The word of God lives, abides, and endures forever (23,25). Since that is the case, there certainly is no need for a new, so-called modernized message from God, is there? What blasphemy it is to refer to God’s word as a "dead letter" that needs to be energized. Good people, God’s word is "quick, and powerful ["alive and active," ASV], and sharper than any two-edged sword . . ." (Hebrews 4:12). Again, it is written, "For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89). The words of Jesus "shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35). God’s word stands, lives, abides, and endures forever.
#7 – The gospel is the word of God (23,25). "The truth" (22), "the word of God" (23), and "the word of the Lord" (25) all have reference to "the gospel" – "And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you" (25). The apostle Paul reminded the saints in Thessalonica that he had preached "the gospel of God" to them (1 Thessalonians 2:2,9). But he then went on to say that when they heard it, they received it "as it is in truth, the word of God" (2:13). The gospel is God’s word, and not just something that men imagined.
May the Lord help us all to see these seven truths about the word of God that shine in 1 Peter 1:22-25. May we gladly accept them, frequently meditate upon them, and joyfully teach them to others.
-- Roger D. Campbell
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