Scripture: "Seeing ye have purified your souls through the Spirit, unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with o pure heart fervently."—1 PET. i. 22.
In the beginning of this chapter, Peter had expressed a wonderful truth about our love to Christ: "Whom having not seen, ye love; in Whom ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (ver. 8). This was the fruit of the Spirit.
In our text he speaks of "the love of the brethren." "Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto the unfeigned love of the brethren." In the days of the Early Church it was clearly understood at conversion that, in con¬fessing Christ, the new convert also promised unfeigned love to the brethren. So Peter continues: "See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." Unfeigned, fervent love through the Spirit should be the chief token of a true conversion.
We see how much stress Peter lays on this point in the three next chapters, as he returns to the subject each time. (ii. 17), "Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king." (iii. 8), "Finally, be ye all like-minded, compassionate, loving as brethren, tender-hearted, humble-minded." These are all signs of the life of God in the soul. And then (iv. 7, 8), "Watch unto prayer, above all things being fervent in your love among yourselves; for love covereth a multitude of sins." Unfeigned, fervent love of the brethren was the indispensable sign of true godliness.
God's Word is a mirror into which the Church and each individual member must look, to see that we are truly Christian, showing by our conduct that we take God's Word as our rule of life If our hearts condemn us, we must turn at once to God, confessing our sin. Let us believe that the Spirit of love does indeed dwell in us, and will shed abroad God's love in our hearts, and purify us from all hatred and selfishness, and restore the image of Christ within us. Let us not rest content until we have surrendered ourselves wholly to God, that His Spirit of love may reign and rule within us.