By Bruce Reeves
The epistle of first Peter offers wonderful encouragement to the child of God in view of simply living the Christian life from day to day. Peter encourages us to strive toward our goal of heaven, which we do through developing holiness in our conduct and we are admonished to exhibit love for one another as brethren in Christ. Peter writes, “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” (1 Pet. 1:22). He proceeds even further in his discussion of our attitude toward each other when he says, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings …” (1 Pet. 2:1).
One good brother said, “That means we must love the brethren as unlovable as they ace sometimes.” One of the keys to living for the Lord is treating one another in a loving manner. In this article I want to examine some biblical principles that will help us to love one an-other more.
Brotherly Love Requires Purity and Fervency of
Spirit (1 Pet. 1:22)
The word pure denotes something that is unmixed. Many times we treat each other sinfully because we allow sinful attitudes to infiltrate our hearts (1 Tim. 1:5).
The word fervently in the original carries the idea of being stretched to the maximum. Therefore, our loving one an-other does not happen by accident, it is something we have to work to accomplish (Eph. 4:1-3).
Brotherly Love Requires the Laying Aside of
Certain Things (1 Pet. 2:1-3)
The answer is not to compromise the truth or take a lighter stand on doctrinal issues. All compromise does is please the sectarians and spoil the brethren. The unity of the Bible is based on God’s word (John 17:17-21). True brotherly love seeks the good of others in view of eternity, not just the here and now.
Peter uses the word wherefore in 1 Peter 2:1 to say the logical conclusion is since we are new creatures in Christ we should have put away sinful attitudes and dispositions. You control your attitude, the mentality that says, “I am the way I am” is not in accordance with the spirit of Christ.
The Greek word for laying aside is the word apotheosis and it indicates a decisive act with permanent results; literally to discard clothing. The action should have taken place in our conversion, but sadly some members of the church have kept such sinful attitudes and when exhibited they cause problems in the church.
There are five things Peter says we must put away or discard from our personality if we are to please the Master and promote brotherly love. First “wickedness” (kalian) means “an evil disposition, the desire to injure another.” The second word is “guile” (dolor) and it means to “catch with bait, craftiness.” The third word is “hypocrisies” which denotes “deceptive actions or attitudes.” The word “en-vies” carries the idea that one has “feelings of unhappiness because another has that which one desires for himself.” Finally, the word “evil speaking” means “slanderous and defamatory statements about others” (elsewhere translated backbiting). Brethren it is high time we put away such attitudes for the benefit of the cause of Christ.
Loving the Brethren Will Require Unselfishness
In Philippians 2, Paul uses the word “but” as an adversative conjunction which means he is contrasting two things. He is contrasting strife and vainglory with lowliness of mind. In other words one cannot have both at the same time, we must give up our own interests for the benefit of others. The perfect example of Jesus’ sacrifice for us is given. The Lord was willing to put his own interests aside in order to redeem humanity and this he did by leaving the beauty, advantages, and glory of heaven behind to come to this earth to suffer and die for mankind (John 17:5).
Loving the Brethren Means I
Tell Them the Truth
Examine the example of Samuel, Nathan, Paul and even the Lord Jesus Christ. Love does not mean we tell people what they want to hear. It means because we love them we tell them what they need to hear so that their soul will be saved after this life is over! We cannot be saved without loving one another!
Guardian of Truth XLI: 20 p. 24-25
October 16, 1997