‘Brotherly Love’: The Evidence of Faith

Mar 27, 2010 No Comments by

The Apostle Peter throughout his letters referred many times to the Tanakh (Sadly Christians named it the “Old” Testament, when in fact it is as fresh as tomorrow)

Let’s begin at the beginning…

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.” (1 Peter 1: 1-2)

He starts by referring to his brethren who are scattered yet elected. Then he moves on to an interesting reference to Jesus Christ and the ‘sprinkling of the blood.’

Where did he get that thought?

Ex. 24:3 – 8 “So Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the LORD has said we will do.”

“And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD.

“And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient.”

“And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words.”

Christians have been chosen by God and sanctified by the work of the Holy Spirit through their obedience to Christ. Faith identifies our need for the blood. No one earns their own redemption.

Peter then unites us with the covenant promises made to Israel from the beginning – a theme Paul will develop later saying, we are grafted in!

1Pet. 1:3-9 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”

The Apostle Peter in his first letter to the new Spirit-filled church speaks to those who did not see Jesus in the flesh but met Him by revelation.

Peter remembers his own frailty even when he walked with Jesus. It is encouraging. Peter remembers how often He failed the test, but he also remembers the warm and wonderful friendship he had with Yeshua (the Hebrew name of the Lord)

This is awesome. I can relate to the time when I fell way short of the character of the Lord. His love and grace is overwhelming. Peter reminds the Church how inexpressible is their fullness in the Holy Spirit. And he says their revelation of Jesus is reality; it was as real as Peter’s physical fellowship with the Lord; it was founded on belief, it was carried by love.

“Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”

There can be nothing more wonderful! Peter makes an interesting exhortation to the new believers, which came from his own experience.

1Pet. 1:22-23 “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever”

He made love for the Lord his first headline followed quickly by love for the brethren.

1)    From his personal relationship with Yeshua, Peter knew how powerful was the love of the Lord and how Jesus’ physical absence made that love grow stronger. Yeshua had gone to be with the Father and now the followers knew Him by the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

2)    Love for the brethren was the vital evidence. Peter must have often thought of those days when the disciples depended on each other for survival; He would have considered the adventures and miracles they shared and he relished and valued every moment.

He wanted that same experience for the new church. He knew it was in Christ-centred unity that victories occured.

He also knew what his fellow apostle John was teaching:

1John 4:20 “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

You can be certain Peter and John learned that lesson during their mentoring by the Lord. Peter knew those words were inspired by the Holy Spirit and  he made them the priority in the first chapter of his first letter.

But it goes even further than that….To love one another is to obey the Truth.

Those who know Christ as Lord and Savior have set themselves apart from the ways of the world. How they used to live has been nailed to the Cross.

In the NIV 1: 22 says, “You have purified yourselves by obeying the truth.” There are some interesting Tanakh cross references to this.

Ex. 19:10 “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes.”

Josh. 3:5 “And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”

2Chr. 30:17 For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves; therefore the Levites had charge of the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to the LORD.

And that was emphasised by John John 11:55 “And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves.”

Is that what we have done? Have we embraced Yeshua and been washed in His blood even to a new life which displays His character?

Peter says the evidence of that transformation is confirmed in ‘love for your brothers.’ The original phrase actually calls it “unhypocritical brotherly love!” This is evidence of the born-again life as opposed to the fallen world.

Back in my TV career, I hosted a telethon, which raised funds to build a hospital for children. “He’s not heavy, he’s my brother” was the song we chose as the theme.

I can look back on some relationships, which seemed to be ‘heavy’ at the time. Now as I spend time with the Lord, He reveals to me the valuable lessons I learned through those experiences.

Those moments ministered to me and help me grow a little more to be like Jesus. How wonderful?

Learn today through love. It’s the way of the Lord!

Bible Blog

About the author

Ron Ross worked as the first Sports Editor at WINTV. In Wollongong. He ran The Hamburger Hut an outreach and discipleship program for youth. He served with Youth With a Mission in Hawaii, Philippines and Australia. He was senior pastor of the Noosa Baptist Church, Queensland for 9 years. He reported news from Jerusalem for five years and is now the Middle East correspondent for United Christian Broadcasters and travels regularly preaching and teaching.
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