Peter’s epistle is astounding for what it says about the church. In 1 Peter 1:22, we read, “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brothers, fervently love one another from the heart.” My, what a long way our churches have fallen from this ideal!
Purifying your soul to love the church fervently is obedience to the truth. Somehow, our presentation of the gospel falls short of calling for this kind of fervent love. For Peter, the gospel includes a sincere love for Christ’s church, as he says in 1 Peter 1:25, “This is the word which was preached to you.”
“Father, purify from our hearts the petty self-love which honors others only as they honor us or make much of us. Father, purge from us the small selfishness which seeks only our own gain. Instead, set us free to give up our rights and our claims of justice so that we will be free to love sincerely and fervently from the heart. Take away our foolish fear of losing self esteem. And, Father, grant that we would understand the Gospel more clearly and more plainly so that we would grow in our love for and service to the church.”