1 Peter 1:22-2:3 ESV

22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

2:1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

In this text we see that what causes us to be born again is the gospel found in the living and abiding Word of God. But, Peter also tells us that God’s Word not only makes us Christians but matures us as Christians. Through God’s Word we grow up into salvation; we’re able to fight sin and walk in obedience to the truth. So, the gospel grace found in God’s Word not only converts us at a single point in time, but it also changes us over time so that we become in practice what Christ has already made us by His grace. Peter says that we are born again by the Word, and also that a purified soul and a purified heart come from the Word of God as well. The gospel of grace that saves sinners of all walks of life, likewise leads to godliness as we are drawn by Christ’s love to honor Him more and more in Christian maturity.

Peter says that through the gospel-centered Word of God we are able to put away malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander, but if we’re honest, at times we all get caught in these things. We don’t mean to, but something happens and we simply react in one of these ways. Most of the time we don’t even realize we are doing it. We are simply reacting to the world around us, and in doing so we are showing what’s really in our hearts. Jesus said, “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person” (Matthew 15:18-20 ESV).

When we do the things that Peter says a Christian shouldn’t be doing, it is then that we are seeing our hearts. And simply trying harder and doing better isn’t going to help, because in our better moments we wouldn’t do such things. But 90 plus percent of our actions are reactions to the world around us. We don’t have time to think about how to act, we simply react. And in those moments we see our heart. So what we need, is not someone to tell us how to act better and try harder, we need to have our hearts and souls purified again and again; and this happens by the Word of God. Though in God’s eyes it is already so, practically we have not yet been fully sanctified, and it is God’s Spirit and Word that will do that work in us. So what we need is more exposure to God’s Word. That so, I challenge you to get into the Word this New Year. Read much. Study hard. Commit yourself to studying and memorizing God’s Word this year. Allow the living and abiding Word of God to transform your heart and life. You won’t regret it.

I am nothing; Christ is all!

Pastor Nick