A Book Unlike Any Other
1 Peter 1:22–2:3 – Perspective: 1 Peter – January 16, 2022
A reading of 1 Peter 1:22–2:3 by Jacob Martin.
J.I. Packer’s “Foreword” in Sproul’s Knowing Scripture.
- Devil do all he can to surround it with doubts, distract from its power.
- From our passage we know the apostle Peter would say, “Yes! Amen!”
- Peter knows the power of the Word of God.
- Knows what it is and what it can do.
- Peter knows it’s a book unlike any other.
Carl Trueman is a church historian and has studied the Medieval and Reformation Church extensively.
- Tells of Wittenberg, Germany in the 1520s after Luther had been away for a while.
- Wasn’t clear that Martin Luther’s protégés were really getting it.
- Trueman says at this hour he began to preach the Word and essentially preached the foundation of the Reformation back to a place of strength.
- It’s at this time that in one sermon Luther said:
I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it.
Martin Luther, 1522
Hear that? “The Word” did it. Teaching, preaching, and writing it!
Once again the apostle Peter would say, “Yes! Amen!” A book unlike any other!
This morning we want to do what J.I. Packer said, “note what Scripture actually says….Using their minds…to get the measure of the message.”
Three ways God’s Word is to impact us:
- Purified by God’s Word
- Born-Again by God’s Word
- Growing Up by God’s Word
I. Purified by God’s Word (1:22)
Our emphasis is on what Peter says about God’s Word, but we want to look at how Peter argues his point in these two verses, VV22–23:
- Based on something that’s happened --> Do this!
- Based on “having purified your souls” --> “Love one another earnestly”
- He knows his readers have experienced their “souls” being “purified.”
- Now he calls them to love others with this changed heart.
- “sincere”—Greek word means “without any hypocrisy.” “Without play-acting” (BDAG).
- “brotherly love”—philadelphia, love for other Christians.
- “earnestly”—Same word used in Luke 22:44 when Jesus “being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Same word as Acts 12:5 when the church is praying “earnestly” for Peter while he’s in prison.
- “from a pure heart”—an undivided and selfless heart.
But this kind of love isn’t natural!
- Have you noticed that?
- Sincere, brotherly, earnest, pure?!??! This isn’t easy!
- Peter knows it.
- That’s why he connects this command with our heart change.
But…what brought this new heart that leads to new love?
- “Your obedience to the truth.”
- You heard the truth and responded to it.
- Your heard the truths and promises and warnings of God’s Word—and responded to them.
God’s Word is unlike any other.
- Responding to it changes you.
- “Obedience to the truth of it” brings “purification of your soul.”
- Do you want a “CLEAN” soul, a “PURE” soul, the FILTH removed?
- Then respond to the truth of God’s Word!
- A lot of talk these days about things that are TRANSFORMATIONAL.
- This Book is TRANSFORMATIONAL if you respond to it!
- It’ll change your heart—and that will change your life!
- It’ll make it possible to love people you didn’t love before.
II. Born-again by God’s Word (1:23–25)
Notice this whole paragraph is really one sentence—Read 1 Peter 1:22–25.
- After the command to love he continues the thought.
- “…love…since you have been born again.”
- Like in 1 Peter 1:3, he returns to the idea of being “born again.”
- Peter is the only NT author to talk about being “born again” with this word.
- Jesus in his conversation with Nicodemus introduces the idea for the first time but with two words: “born+again” (gennaō anōthen)
- John 3:3–5:
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:3–5)
- Peter combines the idea into a single idea: “be born again” (anagennaō).
- Remember 1 Peter 1:3.
- “Being born again” can also be called “regeneration.”
- Definition of “regeneration” by Anthony Hoekema:
Regeneration may be defined as that work of the Holy Spirit whereby he initially brings persons into living union with Christ, changing their hearts so that they who were spiritually dead become spiritually alive, now able and willing to repent of sin, believe the gospel, and serve the Lord.
Anthony Hoekema, Saved by Grace
From the TFC COF (22.4, “The Gospel and the Extent of Its Grace”):
The gospel is the only outward means of revealing Christ and saving grace and is, as such, abundantly sufficient for it. However, men who are dead in trespasses may be born again, quickened or regenerated, only if there is an effectual, irresistible work of the Holy Spirit upon the whole soul, producing in them a new spiritual life. Without this, no other means will affect their conversion to God.
“The Gospel and the Extent of Its Grace” (22.4)
Peter is connecting being born again with the philadelphia, the earnest love we’re supposed to live.
- We can and must do it, “since we have been born again.”
Then he tells us something really important about being born again.
- He tells us HOW we’re born again.
- What is it that takes us from being dead in sins to being alive in Christ?
- What is it that God uses to enable us to believe?
- The ANSWER is the WORD OF GOD!
The Word of God:
- “Imperishable seed” and not perishable (V23).
- “Living and abiding” (V23).
- Where all humanity at its best is “like grass,” “Word of the Lord remains forever”—citing Isaiah 40:6–8.
- The Word Preached!
It’s the same idea as Paul communicates in Romans 10:
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Rom 10:17)
- Now we get a sense of the process of our being born again.
- God’s Word comes to us—through a book, a preacher, a friend.
- As that Word is communicated, God anoints it with his Spirit.
- It comes to us not just as words from a person.
- But it’s also God speaking his word to our heart.
- It’s not just the EXTERNAL WORD of the evangelist.
- But it’s the INTERNAL WORD spoken by God’s Spirit.
- That’s the means God uses to change our heart.
32 years ago this month I had that experience.
- On a Saturday morning as a freshman in college.
- Reading through the gospel of Matthew.
- Got to the end of chapter 9.
- It was an NIV, so it read: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matt 9:37–38)
- Somehow reading that my heart was changed.
- I left my room that day a changed man.
- Really, really a work in progress—but I was changed.
- Other people were involved in this process, but that experience with God’s Word felt like the finish line—or the starting line?
III. Growing Up by God’s Word (2:1–3)
In the last section, Peter again addresses our hearts. Read 1 Peter 2:1–3.
- There’s a set of things to PUT OFF and one to PUT ON.
- A whole set of things that ruins relationships.
- Very opposite of brotherly love, earnest love, sincere love, pure love.
- Malice: Intentionally hurting someone. Instead of “sincere brotherly love” it’s wanting to tear down and hurt others.
- Deceit, hypocrisy: Not being honest, not being real. A pretender. An actor. Either HIDING what’s bad or FAKING what’s good.
- Envy: Opposite of “rejoicing with those who rejoice.” Its “cursing those who rejoice.”
- Jealousy is fear of someone else taking your good thing, Envy is not wanting someone else to have her good
- And then slander: Using your words to hurt and tear down. Through lies or evil speech about someone.
- Again it goes back to the Book Unlike Any Other.
- Image is a “newborn infant” longing for milk from its mother.
- A metaphor to capture the kind of “LONGING” we’re supposed to have.
- Not about immaturity or being baby-like.
- But an all-consuming desire for the one thing that brings growth.
- For a baby a mother’s milk is all it needs to grow.
- 1 food group.
- God’s Word is like that for us.
“PURE spiritual milk.”
- No disease.
- Not diluted with water.
- It’s pure.
“SPIRITUAL” = logikos. Sounds like logos, “word.”
- The milk he’s talking about is the “Word of God.”
- What he’s just been talking about (1:23–25).
- Uses a word so related to “Word” (logos, logikos).
It’s this Word that brings growth—“BY IT you may grow up into salvation.”
- “Grow up into salvation” means becoming more like the person we’ll be when fullness of salvation.
- Complete TRANSFORMATION coming, but can experience some of it now.
Christian growth can be mysterious.
- Why some grow and others don’t.
- But sometimes it’s simple.
- The person who’s tasted God’s kindness is faithful in God’s Word or not.
This passage is commanding us to love one another earnestly and sincerely.
- It’s commanding us to leave behind words and actions that destroy relationships.
But it’s also reminding us of what we have in our hands—in this Word!
- It’s God’s Power
- It’s Transformational
- It’ll change you
- It’s meant to be something we LOVE.
- God uses it to cause us to be born again…
- God uses it to purify our souls…
- And God uses it to cause us to grow up as Christians…
Read it, love it, study it, share it!
One action to take this week? (1) Choose a Bible reading plan and (2) Tell someone what your plan is—or why you’re continuing the one you’re doing.
As we close let’s stand and read part of Psalm 19 together
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. (Ps 19:7–14)
 Sproul, Knowing Scripture (InterVarsity, 1977)
 Anthony Hoekema, Saved by Grace (Eerdmans, 1989), 94.