A PURIFIED SOUL

             Isn’t it amazing to realize that another year is quickly reaching its conclusion? What in the world has happened that January 1st and December 31st of any year is so close together? Do you remember those days of your life when a year seemed to go on forever? With the soon arrival of a new year and lots of different things going on around us, I want to lay out a challenge from I Peter chapter one. Peter in the first half of chapter one described the wonders of belonging to Christ and the blessings that we have both already received and the ones that are to come. Then in verse 13 he started to build on that foundation. “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

            As one year nears its close and a new year is ready to begin, how are we to get ourselves ready for the challenges that are before us? I don’t know what all those challenges will be, but there are always tragedies, triumphs and trials before us. To be ready for what lays ahead it is vital that we get our minds prepared. The old King James translation said, “Gird up loins of your mind.” It was the visual of one preparing for battle and putting on the battle gear to be ready, but Peter notes that it is all done in our mind. He challenged us to “Be holy as I am holy.” Since we all struggle with sin in our life, how in the world are we to be holy?

            “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” (I Peter 1:22-23) Look at all the directions considered from one having new birth in Jesus. We purify the soul that has been stained by sin. It prepares us to love the brothers and sisters in Christ with a pure heart, with fervor or earnestness. Such a purified soul is maintained through ongoing obedience to the truth from the word of God that serves as an imperishable seed in us. Here the idea of the seed is as a sperm is planted in the woman sexually so that she becomes pregnant to give birth to a child. Spiritually, the word of God is planted in us and the child produced is one living for God by being holy and loving as a way of life.

            Notice how John takes this point even further in I John 3:9-10. “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” The seed or sperm that brings about new birth remains in us to keep us from living a life of sin. One who goes through the action of baptism but doesn’t change their life isn’t really born of God. New birth doesn’t just purify our past, but changes our present and future with God.

 

Leon Barnes

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