7. I’m Saved…Now What? (1 Peter 1:22-2:3)Related Media
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you. Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1 Peter 1:22–25; 2:1–3
What should happen in the life of a believer who has truly believed and responded to the gospel?
In this passage, Peter talks about the proper results of salvation. Look what he says: “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth” (1 Pet 1:22).
When he says we have been “purified” by “obeying the truth,” he is talking about our salvation through faith in Christ. Peter seems to be calling our “faith” obedience. God has called us to believe in the Son as our Lord and Savior (Rom 10:9, 10), and therefore, our “faith” is obedience. It is God’s will that none should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9). God calls all men to “repent” so they may be saved and those who respond are obedient.
This obedience to the gospel leads to purification. When we are saved, God washes us from our sins and cleanses us with the blood of Christ. Christ told the disciples each one of them were clean because of the Word spoken to them (John 15:3). It was not only because they heard the Word but because they had obeyed it. They obeyed and were purified by Christ’s blood (Heb 9:14).
Well, in this passage, Peter says, “Now what?” What should be the result of our salvation? Some people get saved and tend to continue to live their lives the same way they used to before accepting Christ. For them, salvation is just fire insurance to keep them out of hell. However, Scripture would say true salvation is not just mental assent without the corresponding works. True faith always leads to works which essentially prove the validity of our faith (Jas 2:17). In this passage, Peter shows us three works that should happen as a result of our salvation.
Big Question: What should be the results of a believer’s salvation according to 1 Peter 1:22–25 and 1 Peter 2:1–3? How should we apply these truths?
As a Result of Salvation, Believers Must Love the Brethren
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God (emphasis mine).
1 Peter 1:22–23
Peter says a result of our salvation is love for the brethren. He demonstrates this by the preposition so in verse 22. It gives the purpose or result of something. We should realize that loving believers is a fruit of true salvation. If a person who claims to be a Christian does not love believers he is not truly saved. Look at what John says about this:
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
1 John 3:14–15
John says anyone who does not love the brethren has not passed from death to life. They are not truly born again, and there is no life in them. Christ said the same thing, but not in reference to us knowing we are saved, but the world knowing we are. Look at what he says in John 13:35: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
What should be the believer’s response to salvation? The answer is to love the church. God has called you to love the church and honor him by that. In fact, he more clearly says this is a result of our salvation in the following verse. First Peter 1:23 says: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (emphasis mine).
The addition of the preposition for or it can be translated since, in 1 Peter 1:23, is meant to show us the reason we love. We love because we have been born again. He saved us for this purpose, and it should identify us to the world and give assurance to our spirit that we are saved.
Here is the next question that he answers, “In what ways should we love one another?”
Observation Question: In what ways should we love the brethren as demonstrated in verse 22?
How should believers love? Look again at verse 22: “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart” (emphasis mine).
1. Believers should love like a family.
When he says “love for your brothers,” the word he uses here is phileo, or “brotherly love.” It is the type of love you give to a family member. We see this taught about believers throughout the Scripture. Remember what Christ said of his disciples when his family was trying to stop him from preaching.
“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
When Christ said this, he began to exalt the “family of God” even over natural family to some extent. When his family was trying to pull him away, he says, “I have a responsibility to my spiritual family--those who follow the ways of God.” In fact, Paul taught Timothy this is how the church should function--like a family. Listen to what he said:
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
1 Timothy 5:1–2
He told Timothy to treat older men as fathers in the church, to treat older women as mothers and younger women as sisters. If your mom was in the hospital, would you call and check in on her? If your younger brother was making wrong decisions, would you not rebuke him in love? If you were trying to make a decision about the future, would you not call your parents and seek wisdom? If you got in a fight with your family, wouldn’t you endeavor with all your heart to work it out? This is how we treat people who are part of our natural family.
This is what Paul teaches every believer should do to one another as a result of salvation.
Application Question: What ways is God calling you to show familial love to members in the church? How can you grow in this?
2. Believers should love one another sincerely (without hypocrisy).
The English word sincere comes from the Latin word sin cera, meaning “without wax.” In ancient times, when people would sell clay pots that had small cracks in them, they often would put wax on the cracks in order for them to appear new. The only way a person could tell if it did not have wax was by putting the pot to the sky and allowing the sunlight to shine through it. By doing this, you could tell if it was sin cera, without wax. Sincere in this text means to be honest--without ulterior motives.
In the church, our love must be honest and without hypocrisy. He probably is reiterating this at the end of verse 22, when he says “from the heart.” Much love in the church is not from the heart—it is hypocritical; it is two-faced. We shouldn’t bless the pastors and members at church but talk bad about them at home.
Also, sincere love is never given with ulterior motives in order to receive something from others. This would define most of the world’s love. It is hypocritical. The world gives love for the purpose of receiving, instead of loving simply to give. When people have served their purpose or no longer can benefit them, they move on. It is not sincere. However, the believer’s love should be sincere, without wax.
3. Believers should love like God.
The second love in verse 22 is the Greek word agape. It means to love like God: unconditionally and sacrificially. This is a very difficult challenge because agape is a love of the will. It is not necessarily a love of the emotions. God loved us while we were still enemies of his (Rom 5:10). He loved us when we were in rebellion, when we did things to hurt his glory. He loved us because that’s who he is in his being. God is love (1 John 4:8).
This love forgives our sins and separates them as far as the east is from the west. In fact, the command to agape is really Christ’s command to his disciples. He says, “I give you a new command to love one another like I have loved you” (John 15:12). To agape someone means to even be willing to die for them. It’s a sacrificial love.
Remember what the early church did when they first were born again? The wealthy sold all they had in order to give to the poor in the church (Acts 2:45). This is a sacrificial love of the will. It is even shown to our enemies and to those who harm us (Matt 5:44). That is what it means to agape. Our salvation should result in not only family love and sincere love, but agape love.
4. Believers must love fervently or deeply.
The final way Peter describes the love of a believer is with an athletic term. The word deeply, or fervently, is a term that means “to stretch to the furthest limit of a muscle’s capacity. Metaphorically, the word means to go all out, to reach the furthest extent of something.”1 The believer’s love for one another should be fervent. It should always be stretching itself; it should always be pushing itself to its capacity.
As a former personal trainer, I believe the word picture of a muscle stretching itself is a perfect analogy for love. In training someone with weights, it was my philosophy to always go to “failure.” This means that in each set, you lift a weight until you fail, which essentially means until the muscle says “I can’t do one more rep.” See, when you take your muscle to failure, the muscle says to itself, “I must grow, I must get stronger,” or “I must develop more perseverance in order to push this weight for an extended time period.” Because of this, the muscle adapts to the stress by growing so it can more effectively push the load in the future.
It’s the same with love. Love needs to always be stretched to its capacity in order to grow. Paul said in Galatians 6:2: “Carry one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
God often will be stretching your love in caring for a family member, a sister, or a brother who is struggling in the church. And yes, it is hard. Yes, sometimes we want to give up under the pressure, but as we stretch that love to capacity, God will equip you to love further and deeper. He is equipping you to love more like him.
I would even say that many times, heartbreak is just a door to love more. The flesh will respond to heartbreak by loving less and withdrawing. God often uses heartbreak and heart pain to deepen the reservoir in our hearts so that God’s love can more easily flow through us.
Maybe you have been praying to be able to love God more or love your neighbor more. It is possible God is already developing this by stretching you to love someone who is difficult such as a friend or co-worker. God may be using this “hard time” as a means to enrich your love and make it deeper. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9).
Peter says our love should be sincere. It must be familial, it must be god-like, and it must be deep or fervent.
Interpretation Question: Why does Peter talk about the Word of God as an imperishable seed right after commanding believers to love in verses 23–25?
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you (emphasis mine).
1 Peter 1:23–25
Someone might look at the command to love and say that it is too difficult to do. “How is it possible to love that way?” Because of this, Peter reminds the believers again of their new birth and how they have been saved by the Word of God. He describes the Word of God as a seed.
In a seed is great power. A seed may not appear that powerful if you just look at it, but if you put it in the ground, water it and give it sunlight, there is tremendous life in it. It can grow into a large tree with fruits that feed and bless many. It’s the same with the Word of God in our new birth. Peter mentions this to encourage believers with the power that is within them to love.
Jesus said in John 3 that no one can be born again except by water and the Spirit of God (John 3:5). Scripture often is pictured as water. Paul said that husbands should wash their wives with the water of the Word of God (Eph 5:26). The Word and Spirit come together in someone’s life as they hear the gospel and they are changed. They are made new by the power of the Spirit.
To be able to love as Christians are commanded is not something that comes through man’s flesh. Man’s flesh and glory is fading. The glory of man is like the cherry blossoms—here for today and gone for tomorrow. But the glory and the power of the Word of God is eternal. This is how we have been saved and this is how we will love. It is through the power of this seed that has changed us. Let us remember what Paul says:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
We are a new creation in Christ. We have the Holy Spirit who has given us the power to love as God does. Look what Scripture says about the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
In the believer is a tremendous capacity to love. This love is especially cultivated as we live in the Spirit (Gal 5:16) through time in the Word, prayer and fellowship. This is one of the ways we stretch and grow our love.
Application Question: In what ways has God stretched your love or is stretching your love in order that it may be more familial, sincere, god-like and fervent?
As a Result of Our Salvation, Believers Must Take Off the Clothes of Sin
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1 Peter 2:1–3
The word therefore in 1 Peter 2:1 points us back to the previous verses. Peter is saying get rid of all sin as a result of your salvation and because of the power of the Word of God, the imperishable seed that brought you the new birth. Because of this great work, get rid of sin and “crave” the Word of God that changed you.
The Greek word used for “rid yourselves” gives us the picture of taking off clothes (cf. Acts 7:38). This image would have reminded them of the common practice in ancient baptisms. The new believers were instructed to wear old clothes to their baptism, and they would exchange them for white baptism robes. After their baptism, they would throw away the old clothes, representing their old life of sin. The word picture of throwing away clothes of sin is used commonly by Paul. He uses the same word in Ephesians 4:22 translated “to put off.”
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (emphasis mine).
One of the things we must do as believers is take off our old clothes and put on new ones. This is a continual process in the life of the believer. We are getting rid of old mindsets as we renew our minds (Rom 12:2). We are changing our habitual practice of certain sins in response to our salvation.
In fact, the Apostle John says that a change in our relationship to sin is a proof our salvation, just as loving other believers is. Look at 1 John 3:6-8:
No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
John says that knowing God, being saved, will always change your relationship to sin. You cannot go on living the way you previously did. Therefore, a necessary step after salvation will be working to continually get rid of wrong attitudes and actions. We will never be completely free of sin while living on this earth, but it will be our labor until we get to heaven.
Observation Question: What characteristics does Peter tell us to get rid of in 1 Peter 2:1 and what does this mean for our lives?
“Therefore, rid yourself of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind” (1 Peter 2:1).
This call to get rid of sinful attitudes and actions fits with the previous call to love (1 Pet 1:22). If we are going to love our brothers, we must get rid of everything that is uncharacteristic of love. Again, this makes perfect sense in the context of the believers in Asia Minor who were being persecuted. When people are under duress, even the simplest thing could potentially start a conflict and begin a chain of unloving actions.
Imagine these believers getting mistreated by their bosses and having more work put on them because of their faith. Often, when one would come home, his patience would be already spent and it would affect his relationships with family and friends. This pressure would even affect the relationships in the church.
When Israel was in the wilderness undergoing stress, what happened? They started pointing fingers at Moses, Aaron, and God. They complained, and they divided into factions.
If we are going to love, we must get rid of any divisive attitude or action. Malice is a general word for evil generally directed at someone else. Deceit is the desire to trick or deceive someone for gain. Hypocrisy is to be two-faced and not genuine. Envy means to desire or be jealous of what someone else has. Slander means to defame somebody’s character or person through words. If you are going to love someone with God’s love, these things are incompatible. In order to put on love and righteousness, you must take off some other things.
Application Question: What are necessary steps in the life of a believer in order to “rid” oneself of the sins mentioned in 1 Peter 2:1?
Here are some necessary steps we must practice to get rid of these sins.
- Recognize these attitudes and actions are sin.
- Confess them before God (1 John 1:9).
- Confess them before others (Matt 5:23, 24; Jas 5:16). If we have slandered, deceived, or done evil toward someone else, then we would need to confess that to them.
- Repent by forsaking these types of actions.
It is good to remember that sometimes, confession of sin before God is not enough. We must also confess to others. Listen to what Christ said:
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift (emphasis mine).
To put off the clothes of sin means to make things right, and for some, they need to reconcile with people not just God. When we sin we have offended God and we may have offended others. If we have offended or harmed others, we must make reconciliation with them.
In this text, it should be noted Jesus is not even talking about whether it was our fault or why the person is mad at us. It simply says if “your brother has something against you,” go and be reconciled. Love is not about pointing fingers—it is about itself. It is about demonstrating love to someone else.
As a result of our salvation we must take off the old clothes of sin.
As a Result of Our Salvation, We Must Desire the Word of God
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1 Peter 2:2
Here Peter commands the believers to “crave,” or desire, the milk of the Word of God like an infant. It is very interesting that Peter doesn’t say study the Word of God, read the Word of God, or even memorize it. These things are commanded in other parts of Scripture, but here he focuses on the desire for it. If you really “crave” the Word like a newborn baby you will read, memorize, and meditate on it.
It is the most natural thing for a believer to desire the Word of God. It is one of the results of our salvation. Jesus said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4). Job said, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread” (Job 23:12). David, in Psalm 119, spends the largest chapter in the Bible primarily talking about his love for the Word of God. “Your law is my delight” (v. 77), “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (v. 18), and “How can a man keep his way pure? By living according to your word” (v. 9).
This is one of the things that happens as a result of our spiritual birth. In the same way, a true believer loves other brothers (1 John 3:14) and seeks to get rid of sins (1 John 3:6), a truly born-again person desires the Word of God like a newborn. That’s why Peter puts this phrase after talking about our new birth through the Word of God (1 Pet 1:23).
We have been saved by the Word of God, and now we have to grow up into what Christ has called us to be through the Word of God. He says, “Grow up in your salvation.”
Let us hear this: there are many Christians who never grow up. The church is full of spiritual babies that never reach maturity. Why is that? Because the primary way we grow is through the Word of God. It is interesting to note that the Greek verb grow in this passage is passive, literally meaning “it may grow you.”2 This means as you study the Word of God, it bears fruits in your life; it gets rid of sin. It helps a person walk in the righteousness God made them for.
However, the majority of the church never reaches spiritual adulthood and never bears the fruits they have been called to produce. Why? Part of the reason is because they don’t have a healthy “desire.” They don’t enjoy studying the Bible; they don’t enjoy hearing sermons. Why do so many Christians lack this desire?
Application Question: Why are so many Christians lacking a desire for the Word of God?
1. For some, it is because they never have been born again.
Some Christians who have been raised in the church their whole lives have never truly desired the Word of God at all. They have attended Bible studies and read the Bible out of necessity or because they were made to, but never really craved it. Some in the church do not love the Word of God because they are not saved.
Listen to what Paul said about the nonbeliever:
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (emphasis mine).
1 Corinthians 2:14
The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
The natural mind—the person without the Spirit of God whom has not been born again—does not desire the Word of God. He cannot truly understand it; it is foolishness to him and he doesn’t have the capacity to obey God’s Word.
But the believer does, because he has been born again.
What about those who are saved? How come they sometimes lose a desire for the Word of God?
2. A believer can lose a desire for the Word of God because of sin.
This is why in 1 Peter 2:1 they are commanded to get rid of sin so they can “desire the word of God.”
Did your mom ever tell you to not eat sweets before dinner because it would ruin your appetite? It’s the same thing with sin. It has been said, “Sin will keep you out of the Word of God, or the Word of God will keep you out of sin.” It’s one or the other. James says the same thing. “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you” (Jas 1:21).
We must get rid of sin so we can accept the Word of God. If you are not in the Word and you don’t desire it, you can be sure wrong attitudes have crept into your mind and heart. Malice has showed up. There will be wrong attitudes toward God or wrong attitudes toward others, but when the Word of God is there, you will find that you have peace and a right relationship with God and others.
Some have lost desire for the Word of God because of sin. Sin will ruin your appetite. Are you still desiring the Word of God? This is the proper response to one who has been saved by the imperishable seed of the Word of God (1 Pet 1:23).
Application Question: How do we develop a healthy desire for the Word of God?
1. Get rid of sin. Sin will quench your desire for the Word, so you must get rid of it.
2. Begin to force feed yourself the Word of God. This is what the doctors would do to any sick baby that hadn’t eaten all day. Because they need to eat to live, the doctor will force feed a baby through an IV.
Listen to Job: “I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread” (Job 23:12). Job desired the Word more than food. I read a story about a famous pastor named Derek Prince. During a tumultuous season of his life, he began to eat the Word of God day and night just like he would his meals.
This would only make sense for a person who desired it more than their daily meals. A normal diet is about three meals a day. Daniel use to pray and meet with God three times a day (Daniel 6). David said: “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws” (Ps 119:164).
When I used to bodybuild, I would eat six to eight meals a day, which was about every two to three hours. Since the Word of God is more important than food, reading the Word of God multiple times a day is a valid spiritual discipline. I personally am not into the “Read the Bible one-time-a-day thing,” we often tell young Christians. I don’t see support for it anywhere in the Scriptures. A better challenge might be, “How can I practice meditating on the Word of God all throughout the day?”
David talked about the blessing of the one who meditated on the Word of God day and night in Psalm 1. Joshua was called to meditate on the Word of God day and night as well in Joshua 1. Many theologians believe that “day and night” is not referring to the actual morning and night times. It probably was a literary device meaning “all day.” This would be like Christ saying “Forgive seventy times seven,” which really meant all the time.
These are disciplines that will reap tremendous fruit in the believer’s life. I always challenge people to do the least quotient, meaning practicing “day and night” as a literal “twice a day.” Sometimes, it is good to practice what Daniel did three times a day, especially when life is really hard. Or even try seven times a day, like David, through listening to worship music, sermons, etc., strategically at work or during breaks.
The Bible declares there are tremendous blessings for people who develop a lifestyle of this. God said that those who do, in the books of Psalms and Joshua, prosper in everything.
Application Question: What are some good disciplinary routines in order to eat the Word of God more faithfully so we can grow? What is your personal practice?
An anecdote from the early 1900s beautifully illustrates how Christians ought to be grateful for what Christ has done for them. While on a three-story scaffold at a construction site one day, a building engineer tripped and fell toward the ground in what appeared to be a fatal plummet. Right below the scaffold, a laborer looked up just as the man fell, realized he was standing exactly where the engineer would land, braced himself, and absorbed the full impact of the other man’s fall. The impact slightly injured the engineer but severely hurt the laborer. The brutal collision fractured almost every bone in his body, and after he recovered from those injuries, he was severely disabled.
Years later, a reporter asked the former construction laborer how the engineer had treated him since the accident. The handicapped man told the reporter: “He gave me half of all he owns, including a share of his business. He is constantly concerned about my needs and never lets me want for anything. Almost every day he gives me some token of thanks or remembrance.”3
This man responded by tremendous service to the person who had saved his life. How much more should we respond to Christ who has saved not only our bodies but our souls?
Here Peter says the response of a believer to salvation should be:
- loving other believers
- getting rid of evil desires and actions like old clothes
- desiring the Word of God.
Are you still grateful for your salvation? How are you responding because of its effect on your life?
Copyright 2014 Gregory Brown
Unless otherwise noted, the primary Scriptures used are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ®, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked KJV are from the King James Version of the Bible.
1 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter. MacArthur New Testament Commentary (90). Chicago: Moody Publishers.
2 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter. MacArthur New Testament Commentary (100). Chicago: Moody Publishers.
3 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter. MacArthur New Testament Commentary (87–88). Chicago: Moody Publishers.