February 16, 2022
1 Peter 1:22-25 NIV
22 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. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,
“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
And this is the word that was preached to you.
Yesterday I received an email from one of my favorite seminary professors, Dr. Ron Crandall. It is a fearful thing to know you are being read by your seminary professors. In response to yesterday’s Daily Text he wrote
Excellent word today.
Isn’t it interesting (or much worse) how abiding and obedience seem like opposites . . . especially when talking about LOVE. How can one be commanded to love? Yet, these are two parts of the whole. We can only have either if we learn how they “fit” perfectly together. It is like walking in the Way . . . staying in the flow . . . bearing fruit as branch intimately abiding.
Wonderful TRUTH and GRACE
How did Ron know I was running straight toward John 15? I know how. He’s been camped out there for the past fifty years. The fifteenth chapter of John’s Gospel offers perhaps the clearest revelation ever revealed. The whole conversation about being purified by obeying the truth remind me of these words of Jesus,
I am the True Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the Word I have spoken to you.
O.K. did you get that last bit? He said, in essence, “you are purified because you have sat under (which remember means obedience) the Word I have spoken to you.” The Word of God by the Spirit of God according to the love of God prunes, purifies, cleans, and sets us free for a life of love that becomes so pure (over time) it actually rises to the level of supernatural power. So from obedience, or sitting under the Truth of the Word of God, comes purity of heart, and from purity of heart comes love for each other.
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.
My friends. This, right here, is the meaning of life. Love one another deeply, from the heart, with sincere love. Here’s the fascinating part. The first use of the word love comes from the Greek term, “Philadelphia” which means brotherly love. The second use of the term love comes from the Greek term, “Agape” which means, in essence, the pure love of God. This is exactly where Jesus is going.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now abide in my love. If you obey my commands you will abide in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and abide in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
And then he brings it down to the one thing—the very essence and meaning of life itself.
My command is this: Love one another as I have loved you.
This is what it means to love one another deeply from the heart with sincere love—to love each other with the substance and depth of the love of God. This is where it all comes together into a holy roaring fire: pure heartedness, obedience to the Truth, Love, abiding, all of it.
Greater love has no-one than this, to lay down one’s life for their friends.
This doesn’t mean to die (unless it comes to mean that). It means to release your grip on yourself and your self-interest so much so that you have forgotten yourself. It means to have a pure heart. When human beings do this, people see God. Why? Because only God can do this. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” And therein lies the whole point. It is not the self-interested obedience of compliance. It is the self-forgetful obedience of love. There is nothing more glorious on this side of Heaven, because this is Heaven on this side.
This is the great awakening.
Do you long for it?
Jesus, you are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. You are the pure, unadulterated, unself-interested, love of God. Why do we think of love as so soft and squishy when it is the hardest core reality in the Cosmos? Forgive me for making my faith about almost everything else but this one thing. I am overwhelmed by this. I don’t know how to get there, other than to simply abandon myself to you in love. And I can’t even do that without your help. So have me, Jesus. All of me for all of you. Holy Spirit move. Praying in Jesus’ name, Amen.
This was a real struggle for me to wrestle into words. Was it as clear as mud? Do you “read” me? Do you long for this?
For the Awakening,