“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 Peter 1:22)
It seems simple enough. To purify our souls simply obey God’s truth. But we must do this through the spirit and not solely dependent upon our actions, works or deeds. But this obedience in purifying our soul has a direction. It has an object. Unfeigned love in obeying the truth of God needs to be directed towards the brethren. “Love of the brethren” comes from the Greek word “Philadelphia”. We interpret that to mean the city of brotherly love.
To purify our souls we are to have brotherly love, genuine and sincere brotherly love for others. Peter expands upon the love we are to have by saying, “see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently”.
Our pure soul and spirit is to love the brethren with a pure heart as well. But this love is yet a different type of love than the brotherly love first mentioned. Here Peter is speaking of the type of love known as “Agape”. Some people define agape as a Godly type of love. But agape goes much deeper than that. The agape type of love, sometime called transcribed as “charity” is an undying and unyielding love for God by man that is made manifest and demonstrated towards our fellow man. The basis of agape is our love for God the action and object of that love is demonstrated onto other people. And as Peter says about agape, “fervently” or with all earnestness.
Think about that for a moment. How would you display your love for God to God? What would you do? What would you say? This is what we are to apply to our fellow human beings.
Now the agape type of love is not restricted to only the people you love or have a fondness for. No, agape love includes everybody. Are you willing to share the following types of attributes to all?
Hospitability, selflessness, assistance, caring, benevolence, service, support, aid, helpful, attentiveness, attending, protect, relief, comfort, thoughtfulness, outreach, compassion, empathy, understanding, generosity, kindness, forgiving, neighborly, goodwill.
You would demonstrate these character traits towards God, right? I’m sure you can think of many more. But this is to be our mindset towards all brethren. It is demonstrating our love of God and making our fellow man the object and recipient of that love.
“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.” (1 John 4:20-21).
To love God comes with it the great responsibility to also love man. To some it is a burden. To others a great joy. But we can gauge our relationship with God in how we love (agape) our fellow man. How about you? Are you ready, willing and able to love man like how you love God?