When I first read these verses I had to ask myself, “What does it mean to fervently love one another from the heart?” And further more, do I love my brethren fervently from the heart?”
I am a firm believer in the saying “if you don’t really want to know the answer don’t ask the question”! I think this is one of those times I should have just ignored my desire to understand.
As I began to study I quickly realized that if graded on my love, sincere and fervent love of my brethren I would most assuredly get a failing grade.
To be sincere is to have an honest interest in another. To be pure, genuine and true. Fervent means to have a “great intensity of feeling” or “to boil.” I must be honest my first thought was “you’ve got to be kidding!” “how can anyone love that way?” I mean I love my family like that (at least some of them) and I do have a couple friends I could say that about, but MY BRETHREN? That is beyond what I can do.
I love the word of God. For in His Word He always answers our questions.
How can I love the brethren (my brothers and sisters in Christ) with the kind of love Peter talks about? The answer is in the first part of the verse.
I can only love with a love like that if I have “in obedience to the truth purified my soul.”
Obedient to what truth? Peter begins Chapter 1 by reminding us that we are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit to OBEY Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood. The truth is I am born again, my sins forgiven through the work of the blood of Christ. The truth is I am being sanctified by the work of the Spirit in my life. The truth is that God calls me to be holy as He is HOLY. Truth says that I have been redeemed with the precious blood of the Lamb.
I can love sincerely and fervently if, in obedience, I have allowed the Spirit’s work to purify (make clean) my soul. It has nothing to do with me, other than CHOOSING to be obedient, it has everything to do with the Spirit at work in me.
Oh Father how I long to love my brothers and sisters with this kind of love. Oh Father can you imagine what the body would be like if we truly did love as you call us to? Father forgive me for my lack of love. I confess that this just seems to hard, almost impossible. Forgive me for doubting the miracle You are able to do in my heart. Forgive me for my lack of faith. Help me to grow in this area of love. Help me to be obedient to your word in all things. Amen
What about you? If given a test how would you be graded on your sincere and fervent love?