1 Peter 1:22
Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned love of the brothers, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently:
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(22) Purified your souls in obeying.—Bengel well points us to 2Peter 1:5-7, where, in like manner, St. Peter delights to exhibit gradations of grace. “Obeying the truth” here will correspond to “knowledge” there, with its immediate consequences of “self-mastery,” “endurance,” and “reverence;” after which we pass on to “love of the brethren,” and thence, as to a higher grace, to “love” or “charity.” On this last point see Note on 1Thessalonians 4:9. Perhaps the literal “in the obedience of the truth” (i.e., the Christian gospel) does not exactly coincide with “obeying the truth,” as implying rather “the obedience (to God) which the truth (i.e., the knowledge of the truth) demands.” Truth has a claim, not only to be accepted intellectually, as truth, but to alter moral conduct in accordance (comp. John 17:17): a doctrine which lies at the bottom of the Socratic maxim, “Virtue is knowledge.” That Socratic maxim, however, does not sufficiently take into account the inertness of the will to act on principle; and no doubt it was under some such instinct that some copyist first added as a gloss the words (not found in the original text) “through the Spirit.” The first effect of such knowledge of the truth, under the Spirit’s influence, is to purify” the soul of selfish aims, and to give it that “altruism” (as they call it now), or desire for the benefit of the community rather than self, which is here described as “love of the brethren.” (See Notes on 1Thessalonians 3:13; 1Thessalonians 4:6.)

Unfeigned love of the brethren.—The epithet “unfeigned,” in itself, would suggest that St. Peter was uneasy about the depth of their brotherly kindness. And the brotherly kindness is here, as usual, attachment to other members of the Church, special point being added to the word here because of the notion of regeneration running through the whole passage. (See 1Peter 1:14.) Is it not possible that some coolness had arisen between the Jewish and Gentile members of the Church, and that St. Peter finds it necessary to remind the former that they are truly brethren, sons of one Father, and that they ought not only unaffectedly to have done with all jealousy of the Gentile members, but to be far beyond that, loving one another “from the heart (the word ‘pure’ is not part of the original text, and interrupts the run of the sentence) strenuously?”

1 Peter


1 Peter 1:22.

Note these three subsidiary clauses introduced respectively by ‘in,’ ‘through,’ ‘unto.’ They give the means, the Bestower, and the issue of the purity of soul. The Revised Version, following good authorities, omits the clause, ‘through the Spirit.’ It may possibly be originally a marginal gloss of some scribe who was nervous about Peter’s orthodoxy, which finally found its way into the text. But I think we shall be inclined to retain it if we notice that, throughout this epistle, the writer is fond of sentences on the model of the present one, and of surrounding a principal clause with subsidiary ones introduced by a similar sequence of prepositions. For instance, in this very chapter, to pass over other examples, we read, ‘Kept by’ {or in} ‘the power of God through faith unto salvation.’ So, for my present purpose, I take the doubtful words as part of the original text. They unquestionably convey a true idea, whether they are genuine here or no.

One more introductory remark--’Ye have purified your souls’--a bold statement to make about the vast multitude of the ‘dispersed’ throughout all the provinces of Asia Minor whom the Apostle was addressing. The form of the words in the original shows that this purifying is a process which began at some definite point in the past and is being continued throughout all the time of Christian life. The hall-mark of all Christians is a relative purity, not of actions, but of soul. They will vary, one from another; the conception of what is purity of soul will change and grow, but, if a man is a Christian, there was a moment in his past at which he potentially, and in ideal, purified his spirit, and that was the moment when he bowed down in obedience to the truth. There are suggestions for volumes about the true conception of soul-purity in these words of my text. But I deal with them in the simplest possible fashion, following the guidance of these significant little words which introduce the subordinate clauses.

First of all, then, we have here the great thought that

I. Soul purity is in, or by, obedience.

Now, of course, ‘the truth’--truth with the definite article--is the sum of the contents of the Revelation of God in Jesus Christ, His life, His death, His Glory. For to Peter, as to us He should be, Jesus Christ was Truth Incarnate. ‘In Him were hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’ The first thought that is suggested to me from this expression--obedience to the truth--is that the revelation of God in Jesus Christ is, as its ultimate intention, meant to be obeyed. There are plenty of truths which have no influence on life and conduct, for which all is done that they can demand when they are accepted. But the truth is no inert substance like the element which recent chemical discoveries have found, which is named ‘argon,’ the do-nothing: the truth is, as physiologists say, a ferment. It is intended to come into life, and into character, and into the inmost spirit of a man, and grip them, and mould them, and transform them, and animate them, and impel them. The truth is to be ‘obeyed.’

Now that altogether throws over two card-castles which imperfect Christians are very apt to build. One which haunted the thoughts of an earlier generation of Christians more than it does the present, is that we have done all that ‘the truth’ asks of us when we have intellectually endorsed it. And so you get churches which build their membership upon acceptance of a creed and excommunicate heretics, whilst they keep do-nothing and uncleansed Christians within their pale. But God does not tell us anything that we may know. He tells us in order that, knowing, we may be and do. And right actions, or rather a character which produces such, is the last aim of all knowledge, and especially of all moral and religious truth. So ‘the truth’ is not ‘argon’, it is a ferment. And if men, steeped to the eyebrows in orthodoxy, think that they have done enough when they have set their hands to a confession of faith, and that they are Christians because they can say, ‘all this I steadfastly believe,’ they need to remember that religious truth which does not mould and transform character and conduct is a king dethroned; and for dethroned kings there is a short step between the throne from which they have descended and the scaffold on which they die.

But there is another--what I venture to call a card-castle, which more of us build in these days of indifference as to creed--and that is that a great many of us are too much disposed to believe that ‘the truth as it is in Jesus’ has received from us all which it expects when we trust to it for what we call our ‘salvation,’ meaning thereby forgiveness of sins and immunity from punishment. These are elements of salvation unquestionably, but they are only part of it. And the very truths on which Christian people rest for this initial salvation, which is forgiveness and acceptance, are meant to be the guides of our lives and the patterns for our imitation. Why, in this very letter, in reference to the very parts of Christ’s work, on which faith is wont to rest for salvation,--the death on the Cross to which we say that we trust, and which we are so accustomed to exalt as a unique and inimitable work that cannot be reproduced and needs no repetition, world without end--Peter has no hesitation in saying that Christ was our ‘Pattern,’ and that, even when He went to the Cross, He died ‘leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps.’ So, brethren, the truth needs to be known and believed: the truth needs not only to be believed but to be trusted in; the truth needs not only to be believed and to be trusted in, but to be obeyed.

Still further, another thought following upon and to some extent modifying the preceding one, is suggested here, and that is that the faith, which I have just been saying is sometimes mistakenly regarded as being all that truth calls for from us, is itself obedience. As I have said, the language in the original here implies that there was a given definite moment in the past when these dispersed strangers obeyed, and, by obeying the truth, purified their souls. What was that moment? Some people would say the moment when the rite of baptism was administered. I would say the moment when they bowed themselves in joyful acceptance of the great Word and put out a firm hand of faith to grasp Jesus Christ. That is obedience. For, in the very act of thus trusting, there is self-surrender, is there not? Does not a man depart from himself and bow himself humbly before his Saviour when he puts his trust in Him? Is not the very essence of obedience, not the mere external act, but the melting of the will to flow in such directions as His master-impulse may guide it? Thus, faith in its depth is obedience; and the moment when a man believes, in the deepest sense of the word, that moment, in the deepest realities of his spirit, he becomes obedient to the will and to the love of his Saviour Lord, Who is the Truth as He is the Way and the Life. We find, not only in this Epistle, but throughout the Epistles, that the two words ‘disobedience’ and ‘unbelief,’ are used as equivalents. We read, for instance, of those that ‘stumble at the word, being disobedient,’ and the like. So, then, faith is obedience in its depth, and, if our faith has any vitality in it, it carries in it the essence of all submission.

But then, further, my text implies that the faith which is, in its depth, obedience, in its practical issues will produce the practical obedience which the text enjoins. It is no mere piece of theological legerdemain which counts that faith is righteousness. But, just as all sin comes from selfishness, so, and therefore, all righteousness will flow from giving up self, from decentralising, as it were, our souls from their old centre, self, and taking a new centre, God in Christ. Thus the germ of all practical obedience lies in vital faith. It is, if I might so say, the mother-tincture which, variously combined, coloured, and perfumed, makes all the precious things, the virtues and graces of humanity, which the believing soul pours out as a libation before its God. It is the productive energy of all practical goodness. It is the bottom heat in the greenhouse which makes all the plants grow and flourish. Faith is obedience, and faith produces obedience. Does my faith produce obedience? If it does not, it is not faith.

Then, with regard to this first part of my subject, comes the final thought that practical obedience works inwards as well as outwards, and purifies the soul which renders it. People generally turn that round the other way, and, instead of saying that to do right helps to make a man right within, they say ‘make the tree good, and its fruit good’--first the pure soul, and then the practical obedience. Both statements are true. For every act that a man does reacts upon the doer, just as, whether the shot hits the target or not, the gun kicks back on the shoulder of the man that fired it. Conduct comes from character, but conduct works back upon character, and character is largely the deposit from the vanished seas of actions. So, then, whilst the deepest thought is, be good and you will do good, it is not to be forgotten that the other side is true--do good, and it will tend to make you good. Obedience purifies the soul, while, on the other hand, a man that lives ill comes to think as he lives, and to become tenfold more a child of evil. ‘The dyer’s hand is subdued to what it works in.’ ‘Ye have purified your souls,’ ideally, in the act of faith, and continuously, in the measure in which you practically obey the truth.

We have here

II. Purifying through the Spirit.

I have already said that these words are possibly no part of the original text, but that they convey a true Christian idea, whether the words are here genuine or no. I need not enlarge upon this part of my subject at any length. Let me just remind you how the other verse in this chapter, to which I have already referred as cast in the same mould as our text, covers, from a different point of view, the same ground exactly as our text. Here there is put first the human element: ‘Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth,’ and secondly the Divine element; ‘through the Spirit.’ The human part is put in the foreground, and God’s part comes in, I was going to say, subordinately, as a condition. The reverse is the case in the other text, which runs: ‘Kept in the power of God through faith’--where the Divine element is in the foreground, as being the true cause, and the human dwindles to being merely a condition--’Kept by’ {or in} ‘the power of God through faith.’ Both views are true; you may take the vase by either handle. When the purpose is to stimulate to action, man’s part is put in the foreground and God’s part secondarily. When the purpose is to stimulate to confidence, God’s part is put in the foreground and the man’s is secondary. The two interlock, and neither is sufficient without the other.

The true Agent of all purifying is that Divine Spirit. I have said that the moment of true trust is the moment of initial obedience, and of the beginning of purity. And it is so because, in that moment of initial faith, there enters into the heart the communicated Divine life of the Spirit, which thenceforward is lodged there, except it be quenched by the man’s negligence or sin. Thence, from that germ implanted in the moment of faith, the germ of a new life, there issue forth to ultimate dominion in the spirit, the powers of that Divine Spirit which make for righteousness and transform the character. Thus, the true cause and origin of all Christian nobility and purity of character and conduct lies in that which enters the heart at the moment that the heart is opened for the coming of the Lord. But, on the other hand, this Divine Spirit, the Source of all purity, will not purify the soul without the man’s efforts. ‘Ye have purified your souls.’ You need the Spirit indeed. But you are not mere passive recipients. You are to be active co-operators. In this region, too, we are ‘labourers together with God.’ We cannot of ourselves do the work, for the very powers with which we do it, or try to do it, are themselves in need of cleansing. And for a man to try to purify the soul by his own effort alone is to play the part of the sluttish house-wife who would seek to wipe a dish clean with a dirty cloth. You need the Divine Spirit to work in you, and you need to use, by your own effort, the Divine Spirit that does work in you. He is as ‘rushing, mighty wind’; but, unless the sails are set and the helm gripped, the wind will pass the boat and leave it motionless. He is Divine fire that burns up the dross and foulness; but, unless we ‘guard the holy fire’ and feed it, it dies down into grey cold ashes. He is the water of life; but, unless we dig and take heed to keep clear the channels, no refreshing will permeate to the roots of the wilting flowers, and there will be dryness, thirst, and barrenness, even on the river’s banks.

So, brethren, neither God alone nor man alone can purify the soul. We need Him, else we shall labour in vain. He needs us, else He will bestow His gift, and we shall receive ‘the grace of God in vain.’

Lastly, we have here--

III. Purifying ... unto ... love.

The Apostle was speaking to men of very diverse nationalities who had been rent asunder by deep gulfs of mutual suspicion and conflicting interests and warring creeds, and a great mysterious, and, as it would seem to the world then, utterly inexplicable bond of unity had been evolved amongst them, and Greek and barbarian, bond and free, male and female, had come together in amity. The ‘love of the brethren’ was the creation of Christianity, and was the outstanding fact which, more than any other, amazed the beholders in these early days. God be thanked! there are signs in our generation of a closer drawing together of Christian people than many past ages, alas, have seen.

But my text suggests solemn and great thoughts with regard to Christian love and unity. The road to unity lies through purity, and the road to purity lies through obedience. Yes; what keeps Christian people apart is their impurities. It is not their creeds. It is not any of the differences that appear to separate them. It is because they are not better men and women. Globules of quicksilver will run together and make one mass; but not if you dust them over. And it is the impurities on the quicksilver that keep us from coalescing.

So then we have to school ourselves into greater conformity to the likeness of our Master, to conquer selfishness, and to purify our souls, or else all this talk about Christian unity is no better than sounding brass, and more discordant than tinkling cymbals. Let us learn the lesson. ‘The unfeigned love of the brethren’ is not such an easy thing as some people fancy, and it is not to be attained at all on the road by which some people would seek it. Cleanse yourselves, and you will flow together.

Here, then, we have Peter’s conception of a pure soul and a pure life. It is a stately building, based deep on the broad foundation of the truth as it is in Jesus; its walls rising, but not without our effort, being builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit, and having as the shining apex of its heaven-pointing spire ‘unfeigned love to the brethren.’ The measure of our obedience is the measure of our purity. The measure of our purity is the measure of our brotherly love. But that love, though it is the very aim and natural issue of purity, still will not be realised without effort on our part. Therefore my text, after its exhibition of the process and issues of the purifying which began with faith, glides into the exhortation: ‘See that ye love one another with a pure heart’--a heart purified by obedience--and that ‘fervently.’1 Peter 1:22-23. Seeing you have purified your souls — By applying to this fountain which God has opened for sin and for uncleanness, and by believing and obeying the truth, which God hath appointed to be the grand means of sanctification, delivering such as obey it from the power, and purifying them from the defilement of sin, John 8:32; John 17:17; through the Spirit working by the word, unto the unfeigned love of the brethren — For the fruit of the Spirit is love to the children of God, as well as to God their heavenly Father. See that ye love one another with a pure heart — A heart purified from all earthly and sensual affections, and corrupt passions; from all selfish, interested views, designs, and desires; and that fervently as Christ loved the church; and so as to be willing, if called to it, to lay down your lives for the brethren, 1 John 4:16. Peter’s description of Christian love here is excellent; it springs up in a heart purified by the truth of God, through the influence of his Spirit. It is sincere in its operation, it is unmixed with carnal passions, and it is fervent and increasing. Being born again — Born from above, born of the Spirit of God, and therefore his genuine children; a consideration which lays you under an indispensable obligation to love all your brethren and sisters in Christ, who are born of the same Spirit. See the note on John 3:3. Not of corruptible seed — Not by virtue of any descent from human parents; but of incorruptible — Namely, the truth of God, rendered effectual through his grace; which liveth — Is full of divine virtue and vital energy; and abideth for ever — Produces effects which will continue for ever, or begets in us that spiritual life which will issue in life eternal.1:17-25 Holy confidence in God as a Father, and awful fear of him as a Judge, agree together; and to regard God always as a Judge, makes him dear to us as a Father. If believers do evil, God will visit them with corrections. Then, let Christians not doubt God's faithfulness to his promises, nor give way to enslaving dread of his wrath, but let them reverence his holiness. The fearless professor is defenceless, and Satan takes him captive at his will; the desponding professor has no heart to avail himself of his advantages, and is easily brought to surrender. The price paid for man's redemption was the precious blood of Christ. Not only openly wicked, but unprofitable conversation is highly dangerous, though it may plead custom. It is folly to resolve, I will live and die in such a way, because my forefathers did so. God had purposes of special favour toward his people, long before he made manifest such grace unto them. But the clearness of light, the supports of faith, the power of ordinances, are all much greater since Christ came upon earth, than they were before. The comfort is, that being by faith made one with Christ, his present glory is an assurance that where he is we shall be also, Joh 14:3. The soul must be purified, before it can give up its own desires and indulgences. And the word of God planted in the heart by the Holy Ghost, is a means of spiritual life, stirring up to our duty, working a total change in the dispositions and affections of the soul, till it brings to eternal life. In contrast with the excellence of the renewed spiritual man, as born again, observe the vanity of the natural man. In his life, and in his fall, he is like grass, the flower of grass, which soon withers and dies away. We should hear, and thus receive and love, the holy, living word, and rather hazard all than lose it; and we must banish all other things from the place due to it. We should lodge it in our hearts as our only treasures here, and the certain pledge of the treasure of glory laid up for believers in heaven.Seeing ye have purified your souls - Greek, "Having purified your souls." The apostles were never afraid of referring to human agency as having an important part in saving the soul Compare 1 Corinthians 4:15. No one is made pure without personal intention or effort - any more than one becomes accomplished or learned without personal exertion. One of the leading effects of the agency of the Holy Spirit is to excite us to make efforts for our own salvation; and there is no true piety which is not the fair result of culture, as really as the learning of a Person, or the harvest of the farmer. The amount of effort which we make "in purifying our souls" is usually also the measure of our attainments in religion. No one can expect to have any true piety beyond the amount of effort which he makes to be conformed to God, any more than one can expect wealth, or fame, or learning, without exertion.

In obeying the truth - That is, your yielding to the requirements of truth, and to its fair influence on your minds, has been the means of your becoming pure. The truth here referred to is, undoubtedly, that which is revealed in the gospel - the great system of truth respecting the redemption of the world.

Through the Spirit - By the agency of the Holy Spirit. It is his office to apply truth to the mind; and however precious the truth may be, and however adapted to secure certain results on the soul, it will never produce those effects without the influences of the Holy Spirit. Compare Titus 3:5-6; the notes at John 3:5.

Unto unfeigned love of the brethren - The effect of the influence of the Holy Spirit in applying the truth has been to produce sincere love to all who are true Christians. Compare the John 13:34 note; 1 Thessalonians 4:9 note. See also 1 John 3:14-18.

See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently - Compare the Hebrews 13:1 note; John 13:34-35 notes; Ephesians 5:2 note. The phrase "with a pure heart fervently," means:

(1) that it should be genuine love proceeding from a heart in which there is no guile or hypocrisy; and,

(2) that it should be intense affection, (ἐκτενῶς ektenōs;) not cold and formal, but ardent and strong.

If there is any reason why we should love true Christians at all, there is the same reason why our attachment to them should be intense. This verse establishes the following points:

(1) That truth was at the foundation of their piety. They had none of which this was not the proper basis; and in which the foundation was not as broad as the superstructure. There is no religion in the world which is not the fair developement of truth; which the truth is not suited to produce.

(2) they became Christians as the result of obeying the truth; or by yielding to its fair influence on the soul. Their own minds complied with its claims; their own hearts yielded; there was the exercise of their own volitions. This expresses a doctrine of great importance:

(a) There is always the exercise of the powers of the mind in true religion; always a yielding to truth; always a voluntary reception of it into the soul.

(b) Religion is always of the nature of obedience. It consists in yielding to what is true and right; in laying aside the feelings of opposition, and in allowing the mind to follow where truth and duty lead.

(c) This would always take place when the truth is presented to the mind, if there were no voluntary resistance. If all people were ready to yield to the truth, they would become Christians. The only reason why all people do not love and serve God is that they refuse to yield to what they know to be true and right.

(3) the agency by which this was accomplished was that of the Holy Spirit. Truth is adapted in itself to a certain end or result, as seed is adapted to produce a harvest. But it will no more of itself produce its appropriate effects on the soul, than seed will produce a harvest without rains, and dews, and suns. In all cases, therefore, the proper effect of truth on the soul is to be traced to the influence of the Holy Spirit, as the germination of the seed in the earth is to the foreign cause that acts on it. No man was ever converted by the mere effect of truth without the agency of the Holy Spirit, any more than seed germinates when laid upon a hard rock.


22. purified … in obeying the truth—Greek, "in your (or 'the') obedience of (that is, 'to') the truth (the Gospel way of salvation)," that is, in the fact of your believing. Faith purifies the heart as giving it the only pure motive, love to God (Ac 15:9; Ro 1:5, "obedience to the faith").

through the Spirit—omitted in the oldest manuscripts. The Holy Spirit is the purifier by bestowing the obedience of faith (1Pe 1:2; 1Co 12:3).

unto—with a view to: the proper result of the purifying of your hearts by faith. "For what end must we lead a chaste life? That we may thereby be saved? No: but for this, that we may serve our neighbor" [Luther].

unfeigned—1Pe 2:1, 2, "laying aside … hypocrisies … sincere."

love of the brethren—that is, of Christians. Brotherly love is distinct from common love. "The Christian loves primarily those in Christ; secondarily, all who might be in Christ, namely, all men, as Christ as man died for all, and as he hopes that they, too, may become his Christian brethren" [Steiger]. Bengel remarks that as here, so in 2Pe 1:5-7, "brotherly love" is preceded by the purifying graces, "faith, knowledge, and godliness," &c. Love to the brethren is the evidence of our regeneration and justification by faith.

love one another—When the purifying by faith into love of the brethren has formed the habit, then the act follows, so that the "love" is at once habit and act.

with a pure heart—The oldest manuscripts read, "(love) from the heart."

fervently—Greek, "intensely": with all the powers on the stretch (1Pe 4:8). "Instantly" (Ac 26:7).

Your souls; i.e. yourselves; the whole person is implied, the soul being the principal part.

In obeying the truth; in subjecting yourselves to the truth of the gospel, by faith, to which the purification of the heart is ascribed, Acts 15:9, not only as to justification, and purging away the guilt of sin, but as to sanctification, and cleansing from the defilement of it: q.d. Seeing ye have begun to purify your hearts by faith in Christ, set forth in the gospel, and made sanctification to them that believe, 1 Corinthians 1:30.

Through the Spirit; by the operation of the Spirit working faith in you.

Unto unfeigned love of the brethren; without hypocrisy, and which is not in word only, but in deed and in truth, 1Jo 3:18. Love to the brethren in Christ, and for Christ’s sake. This notes one great end of our sanctification, viz. the exercise of brotherly love, whereby our love to God is likewise manifested, when we love them upon his acconut. The whole clause may likewise be understood, as an exhortation to purify themselves more and more by faith, that so they might (being purged from carnal affections) be the better able, and more disposed, to love one another.

Love one another with a pure heart; as the source and fountain of your love to each other, and from whence it proceeds, 1 Timothy 1:5 2 Timothy 2:22.

Fervently; or, vehemently, and intensely, strongly. The word seems to be a metaphor taken from a bow, which the more it is bent, with the greater force it sends forth the arrow; so love, the more fervent and strong it is, the more abundantly it puts forth itself for the benefit of others. Seeing ye have purified your souls,.... The apostle passes to another exhortation, namely, to brotherly love; the ground of which he makes to be, the purification of their souls; and which supposes that they had been impure; and indeed, their whole persons, souls and bodies, were so by nature; even all the members of their bodies, and all the powers and faculties of their souls: it is internal purity, purity of the heart, that is here particularly respected; though not to the exclusion of outward purity, for where there is the former, there will be the latter; but there may be an external purity, where there is not the inward one: this the apostle ascribes to the saints themselves, but not without the grace of God, the blood of Christ, and the operations of his Spirit; as appears by a following clause; but they are said to purify themselves, inasmuch as having the grace of faith bestowed on them, they were enabled, under the influences of the Spirit of God, to exercise it on the blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin:

in obeying the truth; of the Gospel, by receiving, believing, and embracing it in the love of it; which teaches outward purity, and is a means in the hand of the spirit of inward purity, and of directing to the purifying blood of Jesus, who sanctifies and cleanses by the word:

through the Spirit; this clause is left out in the Alexandrian copy, and some others, and in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, but is in the Arabic version, and ought to be retained; for, as Christ died to purify to himself a peculiar people, the Spirit of Christ does from him purify the heart by faith in his blood; by sprinkling that on the conscience, and by leading the faith of God's people to the fountain of it, to wash it for sin, and for uncleanness; even both their consciences and their conversation, garments; whereby they obtain inward and outward purity:

unto unfeigned love of the brethren; which is the end of sanctification, and an evidence of it; when the saints are loved as brethren, and because such; and with a love without dissimulation, not in word and in tongue only, but in deed and in truth: this being the case, the exhortation follows:

see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: this is Christ's new commandment, and the evidence of regeneration; a distinguishing badge of Christianity, and without which all profession of religion is a vain and empty thing: this should he mutual and cordial; should proceed from the heart, and from an heart sprinkled from an evil conscience; and should be with warmth and fervency, and not with coldness and indifference; though the word here used, may not only design the intenseness of it, but the extensiveness of it also; as that it should reach to all the saints, the poor as well as the rich, and the lesser as well as the greater and more knowing believers; and likewise may denote the continuance of it; it ought to be continually exercised, and to last always; and so the Arabic version renders it, "with a perpetual love".

{13} 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:

(13) He commends the practice of obedience, that is, charity: earnestly repeating again, that he speaks not of any common charity, and such as proceeds from that our corrupt nature, but of that whose beginning is the Spirit of God, which purifies our souls through the word laid hold on by faith, and engenders also in us a spiritual and everlasting life, as God himself is most pure and truly living.

1 Peter 1:22. From 1 Peter 1:22 to 1 Peter 1:25 the third exhortation,[99] and its subject is love one of another. Gerhard incorrectly joins this verse with verse 17, and regards 1 Peter 1:18-21 as a parenthesis.

τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῶν ἡγνικότες] The participle does not here express the accomplished act as the basis of the exhortation, as if it were: “after that ye, or since ye, have purified” (Bengel, Wiesinger), but it stands closely linked on to the imperative, and denotes the duty which must ever be fulfilled (hence the perf.) if the ἀγαπᾶν is to be realized (de Wette-Brückner, Schott, Fronmüller);[100] Luther inexactly: “make chaste … and,” etc.

ἁγνίζειν, a religious idea denoting in the first instance the outward, and afterwards the inward consecration and sanctifying also (cf. John 11:55; Acts 21:24; Acts 21:26; Acts 24:18); in passages too, as here, where it expresses moral cleansing from all impurity (here more especially from selfishness), it does not lose its religious significance; cf. Jam 4:8; 1 John 3:3.[101]

ἘΝ Τῇ ὙΠΑΚΟῇ Τῆς ἈΛΗΘΕΊΑς] Ἡ ἈΛΉΘΕΙΑ is the truth revealed and expressed in the gospel in all its fulness. Calvin’s limitation of the idea is arbitrary: veritatem accipit pro regula, quam nobis Dominus in evangelio praescribit.

ὑπακοή, not “faith” (Wiesinger), but “obedience.” The genitive is not the gen. subj.: “the obedience which the truth begets,” but the gen. obj.: “obedience to the truth.” This ὙΠΑΚΟΉ, however, consists in believing what the truth proclaims, and in performing what it requires (thus Weiss also).

The preposition ἐν exhibits ὙΠΑΚΟΉ as the element in which the Christian must move in order to procure the sanctification of his soul.

If the reading ΔΙᾺ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΟς be adopted, the ΠΝΕῦΜΑ is not the human spirit, but the Spirit of God; Luther incorrectly: that the apostle here means to observe that the word of God must not only be heard and read, but be laid hold of with the heart.

εἰς φιλαδελφίαν ἀνυπόκριτον] does not belong to the ἈΓΑΠΉΣΑΤΕ following, either as denoting the terminus of love, and the sense being: diligite vos in fraternam caritatem, i.e. in unum corpus fraternae caritatis; or as: διά (Oecumenius), and thus pointing out the “agency by which;” nor, finally, is it embatic: ita ut omnibus manifestum fiat, vos esse invicem fratres (Gerhard);—but it is to be taken in conjunction with ἩΓΝΙΚΌΤΕς, and specifies the aim towards which the ἉΓΝΊΖΕΙΝ is to be directed. Sanctification towards love, by the putting away of all selfishness, must ever precede love itself.

ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦΊΑ] love of the brethren peculiar to Christians, cf. 2 Peter 1:7; Romans 12:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9.

With ἈΝΥΠΌΚΡΙΤΟς, cf. 1 John 3:18, where true unfeigned love is described.

ἘΚ (ΚΑΘΡᾶς) ΚΑΡΔΊΑς] is not to be joined with what precedes,—it being thus a somewhat cumbrous adjunct,—but with what follows, setting forth in relief an essential element of love; with the expression ἘΚ ΚΑΡΔΊΑς, cf. Romans 6:17; Matthew 18:35 (ἈΠῸ ΤῶΝ ΚΑΡΔΙῶΝ ὙΜῶΝ); on the Rec. ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας, see 1 Timothy 1:5.[102]

ἈΛΛΉΛΟΥς ἈΓΑΠΉΣΑΤΕ ἘΚΤΕΝῶς] ἈΓΑΠᾶΝ is not to be limited, as Wiesinger proposes, “to the manifestation of love in act;” the passages, chap. 1 Peter 4:8, 1 John 3:18, do not justify this limitation.

ἘΚΤΕΝῶς, “with strained energies;” it denotes here “the persevering intensity of love” (in like manner Weiss, p. 336; Fronmüller, Hofmann); Luther translates “ardently;” Schott without any reason asserts that in all the N. T. passages the word is used only in the temporal sense of duration, and therefore is so to be taken here; Luke 22:24, Acts 12:5; Acts 26:7, 1 Peter 4:8, are evidence not for, but against Schott’s assertion. The chief emphasis lies not on ἀγαπήσατε, but on ἘΚ (ΚΑΘΑΡᾶς) ΚΑΡΔΊΑς and ἘΚΤΕΝῶς.

[99] Hofmann, without any sufficient reason, supposes the third exhortation to begin with ver. 18, although the amplifications contained in vv. 18–21 serve eminently to inculcate the preceding exhortation. The expression εἰδότες can be joined either with a preceding or a subsequent idea, yet it must be observed that in the N. T. the first combination is more frequent than the second, and that in the latter case εἰδότες is always accompanied by a particle, by which it is marked as the first word of a subsequent set of phrases; Hofmann altogether overlooks this. Here undoubtedly καί would have been prefixed to εἰδότες.

[100] Hofmann declares himself opposed to both of these interpretations, or rather he seeks to unite them after a fashion, by assuming that the participial clause partakes of the imperative tone of the principal clause. He likewise characterizes personal purification, presupposed by that love which is ever and anon manifested, as that which should have been accomplished once for all (as if it were possible to command that something should have taken place); he then adds that he who has not yet dedicated his soul to brotherly love must do so still(!).

[101] Schott leaves this religious reference entirely unnoticed. He states that the original meaning of the word ἁγνός, “is that purity of mind which regards one thing only as the foundation and aim of all practical life—the truly moral.” Cremer, too, thinks that although originally it had the religious sense “to dedicate,” it is (John 11:55, Acts 21:24; Acts 21:26; Acts 24:18 excepted) as a term, techn. foreign to the N. T., and is here only equal to “to purify,” “to cleanse” (without the secondary meaning “to dedicate”).

[102] This participial clause joins itself naturally with what precedes, and is not, with Hofmann, to be taken with what follows (chap. 1 Peter 2:1); ἀποθέμενοι, as οὖν shows, begins a new sentence. The connection proposed by Hofmann would give rise to a very clumsy phraseology. Were it true that regeneration has nothing to do with brotherly love, then of course neither has it anything to do with the laying aside of those lusts which are opposed to love, spoken of in chap. 1 Peter 2:1. Hofmann says, indeed, that 1 Peter 2:1 describes the contraries of ἁπλότης (childlike simplicity), not of φιλαδελφία; but is not the opposite of the one the opposite of the other also? The construction in Romans 13:1 ff. is only in appearance similar to that which Hofmann understands as occurring here.1 Peter 1:22-25. The combination of purification of souls with love of the brotherhood suggests that the temptations to relapses were due to former intimacies and relationships which were not overcome by the spiritual brotherhood which they entered. Different grades of society were doubtless represented in all Christian churches and those who were marked out for leaders by their wealth and position were naturally slow to love the slaves and outcasts. As at Corinth old intimacies and congenial society led the better classes (1 Peter 4:3 f.) to fall back on the clubs to which they had belonged and in the company of their equals to sneer at their new brothers—“the brethren” (1 Peter 2:1). St. Peter reminds them that they must purify their souls from the taint—with a side-glance perhaps at the rites proper to the associations in question. They must love the brotherhood and its members as such. Earthly relationships are done away by their regeneration; they have exchanged the flesh for the spirit. The section is full of echoes; compare ἡγνικότες with ἅγιοι (15), ἐν ἁγιασμῷ (2), τῇ ὑπακοῇ with τέκνα ὑ. (14), ἀναγεγεννημένοι with ἀναγεννήσας (3), φθαρτῆς with φθαρτοῖς (18), εὐαγγελισθέν with τῶν εὐαγγελισαμένων (12). It should be compared throughout with Ephesians 4:18-24.—τὰςἡγνικότες from Jeremiah 6:16,“see what is the good way and walk in it and you shall find purification (ἁγνισμόν LXX) to your souls. . usually of ceremonial purification in LXX. Compare Jam 4:8, ἁγνίσατε καρδίας δίψυχοι (cf. ἀνυπόκριτον). The perfect participle is used as indicating the ground of the admonition, so ἀναγεγεννημένοι (23). Pagan rites professed to purify the worshipper but cannot affect the soul, the self or the heart any more than the Jewish ceremonies can (Hebrews 9:9 f.). Scripture declares ὁ φόβος Κυρίου ἁγνός (Psalm 19:10). They must realise that they have cleansed themselves ideally at baptism, cf. 1 John 3:3; 1 John 3:15 f. above with context.—ἐν τῇ ὑπακοῇ τῆς ἀληθείας, in your obedience to the truth, cf. Jer. l.c. above. They are no longer ignorant (14) but have learned the truth (cf. John 17:17-19, and γνώσεσθε τὴν ἀ., John 8:32) from the missionaries. They must persist in the obedience to it which they then professed, in contrast with those who are disobedient to the truth (Romans 2:8; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:12). Hortsays: “St. Peter rather means the dependence of Christian obedience on the possession of the truth,” relying on Ephesians 4:24, and the probability that “St. Peter would have distinctly used some such language as ἐν τῷ ὑπακούειν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ”. In regard to the latter point it should be observed that St. Peter is curiously fond of using nouns instead of verbs (e g., 2).—εἰς φιλαδελφίαν, love of the brethren, Vulgate, in fraternitalis amore, mutual love which exists between brothers. It is the primary Christian duty, Matthew 23:8, the first fruits of their profession of which St. Paul has no need to remind the Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians 4:9.—ἀνυπόκριτον, unfeigned, contrasted with the love which they professed towards their fellow Christians (cf. 1 Peter 2:1) which was neither hearty nor eager. There was pretence among them whether due to imperfect sympathy of Jew for Gentile or of wealthy and honourable Gentiles for those who were neither the one nor the other. For a vivid illustration of this feigning see Jam 2:15 f. and 1 Peter 2:1-5, etc., for the friction between rich and poor.—ἀλλήλους ἀγαπήσατε. St. John’s summary of the teaching of Jesus (John 13:34 f., John 15:12; John 15:17) which he repeated in extreme old age at Ephesus, till the disciples were weary of it: “Magister quare semper hoc loqueris”. His answer was worthy of him: “Quia praeceptum Domini est et si solum fiat sufficit (Hieron. in Galatians 6:10).—ἐκτενῶς, intentius (Vulg.), in LXX of “strong crying to God” (Jonah 3:8 = בחזקה violently, cf. Jdg 4:12; Joel 1:14; 3Ma 5:9 : in Polybius of a warm commendation (xxxi. 22, 12) a warm and friendly welcome (viii. 21, 1), a warm and magnificent reception (xxxiii. 16 4).22. Seeing ye have purified your souls] It may be noted that the use of the Greek verb “purify,” in this spiritual sense, is peculiar to St Peter, and to his friends St James (James 4:8) and St John (1 John 3:3). In John 11:55, Acts 21:24; Acts 21:26; Acts 24:18, it is found in its ceremonial significance. In Acts 15:9 and Titus 2:14, the Greek verb is different. The purity implied is prominently, as commonly with the cognate adjective, freedom from sensual lust, but includes within its range freedom from all forms of selfishness. The instrument by which, or the region in which, this work of purification is to be accomplished, is found in “obedience to the truth;” the Truth standing here for the sum and substance of the revelation of God in Christ.

unto unfeigned love of the brethren] The Greek noun which answers to the last four words is, in its wide range of meaning, almost, if not altogether, a coinage of Christian thought. The names of Ptolemy Philadelphus (= the lover of his brother) and of the city of Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7) had probably given a wide currency to the adjective. St Paul uses it in Romans 12:10, 1 Thessalonians 4:9, St Peter here and in 2 Peter 1:7. The general bearing of the passage runs parallel to St Paul’s “the end of the commandment is charity (better, love) out of a pure heart and faith unfeigned” (1 Timothy 1:5).

love one another with a pure heart fervently] The better MSS. omit “pure” which may have been inserted from a reminiscence of 1 Timothy 1:5. The adverb is strictly “intensely” rather than “fervently.” It is noticeable that the only other passage in which it meets us in the New Testament is in Acts 12:5, where it, or the cognate adjective, is used of the prayer offered by the Church for St Peter.1 Peter 1:22. Τὰς ψυχὰς, your souls) Without the copula, as 1 Peter 1:14-15.—ἡγνικότες, ye who have purified) who have undergone purification of your souls. Hence follows presently καθαρᾶς, pure. The word ἁγνίζειν denotes both chastity and all other purity. See Septuagint.—ὑπακοῇ, in obedience) This is faith, to which love is accustomed to be joined: for Peter attributes purification to faith, Acts 15:9.—τῆς ἀληθείας, of the truth) revealed in Christ.—διὰ Πνεύματος, by the Spirit) The Holy Spirit bestows that obedience and purity. Comp. ch. 1 Peter 1:2.—εἰς φιλαδελφίανἀγαπήσατε, unto love of the brethrenlove ye) These are two steps: comp. 2 Peter 1:7; from which the statements concerning the graces which go before [these two steps of love], here in the 22d verse, and there in 5th and 6th, may in like manner be compared.—ἀνυπόκριτον, unfeigned) For it flows from the truth. Comp. ch. 1 Peter 2:1-2.—ἀγαπήσατε, love ye) The sentiments agree, ch. 1 Peter 2:3; 1 Peter 2:10.—ἐκτενῶς, earnestly) ch. 1 Peter 4:8.Verse 22. - Seeing ye have purified your souls; literally, having purified. The verb ἁγνίζω is used of ceremonial purification in John 11:55, and in Acts 21:24, 26; Acts 24:18. St. James and St. John, in their Epistles, give it the spiritual sense in which St. Peter uses it here (James 4:8; 1 John 3:3). In this sense it implies consecration to God's service, and an inward cleansing of the heart from all that defiles - from sensual desires, from hypocrisy, from selfishness. The tense shows that this inward purification must precede the love to which the apostle exhorts us; there can be no true love in an unclean heart. In obeying the truth through the Spirit; literally, in the obedience of the truth. Obedience is the condition of purification. God's people are elect unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. While they walk in the path of obedience they are walking in the light, the light of truth, the light of God's presence, and then the blood of Jesus Christ is cleansing them from all sin (1 John 1:7). The genitive (τῆς ἀληθείας) seems to be objective, "obedience to the truth," rather than obedience wrought by the truth. The truth is God's truth, the truth revealed in his Holy Word. So the Lord himself said, "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy Word is truth" (John 17:17). The words, "through the Spirit," are not found in the best manuscripts; they may be a gloss, but a true one. Unto unfeigned love of the brethren. St. Peter had not forgotten the new commandment, "That ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." The word rendered "love of the brethren" (φιλαδελφία) is scarcely found except in Christian writings. St. Peter uses it again in his Second Epistle (2 Peter 1:7), and also St. Paul (Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9). It must be unfeigned, without hypocrisy, not in word, but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18). Our hearts must be purified in the obedience of the truth before that unfeigned love can dwell in them (comp. 1 Timothy 1:5, which is an exact parallel). See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently; literally, love one another from the heart. The word "pure" is omitted in two of the most ancient manuscripts; it may be a gloss, but it is most true and suitable. Christian love must he from the heart, true and pure. The word rendered "fervently" (ἐκτενῶς) means, literally, "intensely," with all the energies strained to the utmost. It is interesting to observe that the only other place where the adverb occurs is in Acts 12:5 (according to the reading of the most ancient manuscripts), where it is used of the prayer offered up for St. Peter himself. Purified (ἡγνικότες)

The Septuagint translation of the Old-Testament technical term for the purification of the people and priests (Joshua 3:5; 1 Chronicles 15:12; 1 Samuel 16:5). Also, of the separation from wine and strong drink by the Nazarite (Numbers 6:2-6). In this ceremonial sense, John 11:55; Acts 21:24, Acts 21:26; Acts 24:18. In the moral sense, as here, James 4:8; 1 John 3:3. Compare καθαρίσας, purifying, Acts 15:9.

Obeying (ὑπακοῇ)

Rev., obedience. A peculiarly New Testament term unknown in classical Greek. In the Septuagint only 2 Samuel 22:36; rendered in A. V. gentleness. Rev., condescension, in margin.

Unfeigned (ἀνυπόκριτον)

Ἀ, not, ὑποκριτής, actor. The latter word is from ὑποκρίνεσθαι, to answer on the stage, and hence to play a part or to act. A hypocrite is, therefore, an actor.

With a pure heart (ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας)

The best texts reject καθαρᾶς, pure. Render, therefore, as Rev., from the heart.

Fervently (ἐκτενῶς)

Used by Peter only, and only in this passage. He uses the kindred adjective ἐκτενής without ceasing, in Acts 12:5, where the narrative probably came from him, and also at 1 Peter 4:8; "fervent charity." The words are compounded with the verb τείνω, to stretch, and signify intense strain; feeling on the rack.

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