November 7 - Born Again

Friday, November 7, 2008

November 7 - Born Again - 1 Peter 1:22-2:3

I love this first verse today. "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." (1 Peter 1:22)

Peter assumes that if you have made a decision to follow Christ and his prescription for holiness ... well ... you are actually living up to that commitment! I guess that this is what Paul is talking about when he describes maturity in Hebrews 5:12.

Paul tells us that maturity comes to those who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:14). Peter says here in 1 Peter 1:22 that obedience to the truth is of great import. Then he goes on to reinforce the importance of love. Obedience calls for a sincere love. Obedience will bring about a deep love - from the heart.

Peter uses Jesus' comparison from Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23, of the Word of God to the seed that is sown. It is in John 3:3-8 that we find Jesus speaking to Nicodemus and telling him that one must be born again. Peter hopes to make his reader understand that when we are actually born again - into the Spirit, we make the leap from the fragility of life to the absolute strength that is found in the Word of God. We become more than a life that exists on earth for 70-80 years and fades into dust. The Word of the Lord stands forever.

As we begin Chapter 2 of 1st Peter, we find the process of being holy.

'Rid yourself of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.' (1 Peter 2:1)

Well. Let's see. How do I stack up against those five sins? Malice: a deliberate, sometimes violent anger towards someone, Deceit: lying, Hypocrisy: saying one thing and not living up to it, Envy: desiring anything that someone else has, Slander: saying evil things about someone else. Oh my goodness! In the words of today's vernacular: Epic Fail. There isn't a one of these things that I don't face down nearly every day. Peter says that I am to get rid of them from my life. It seems to me that these are such a basic part of my personality that I might actually destroy myself if they are gone.

Hmmmm ... I wonder what would be left if they were gone? Maybe a life that is open to God and his goodness!

The translation of 1 Peter 2:2 into English is weak. "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk..." This is much more passionate than it sounds. The imagery that is described here is that of a child who at the end of their schedule and is impatient for milk. A voracious, hungry impatience of an infant. We are to crave with that much passion the pure spiritual milk so that we can grow beyond that as Paul demands in Hebrews 5:12 into a mature salvation.

From Psalm 34:3, Peter reminds us that we have tasted the the Lord is good.

Peter encourages us to grow up. He lays out expectations for a life that is lived fully in God. Chapter 1 tells us that we are to be holy - not because our pastors are holy, or our spiritual mentors are holy, or even he, himself is holy ... but, because God is holy.

We are called to holiness.