Seeing ye have purified your souls - Having purified your souls, in obeying the truth - by believing in Christ Jesus, through the influence and teaching of the Spirit; and giving full proof of it by unfeigned love to the brethren; ye love one another, or ye will love each other, with a pure heart fervently. These persons,
First, heard the truth, that is, the Gospel; thus called in a great variety of places in the New Testament, because it contains The truth without mixture of error, and is the truth and substance of all the preceding dispensations by which it was typified.
Secondly, they obeyed that truth, by believing on Him who came into the world to save sinners.
Thirdly, through this believing on the Son of God, their hearts were purified by the word of truth applied to them by the Holy Spirit.
Fourthly, the love of God being shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, they loved the brethren with pure hearts fervently, εκτενως, intensely or continually; the full proof that their brotherly love was unfeigned, φιλαδελφιαν ανυποκριτον, a fraternal affection without hypocrisy.
Seeing ye have purified your souls - Greek, “Having purified your souls.” The apostles were never afraid of referring to human agency as having an important part in saving the soul Compare 1 Corinthians 4:15. No one is made pure without personal intention or effort - any more than one becomes accomplished or learned without personal exertion. One of the leading effects of the agency of the Holy Spirit is to excite us to make efforts for our own salvation; and there is no true piety which is not the fair result of culture, as really as the learning of a Person, or the harvest of the farmer. The amount of effort which we make “in purifying our souls” is usually also the measure of our attainments in religion. No one can expect to have any true piety beyond the amount of effort which he makes to be conformed to God, any more than one can expect wealth, or fame, or learning, without exertion.
In obeying the truth - That is, your yielding to the requirements of truth, and to its fair influence on your minds, has been the means of your becoming pure. The truth here referred to is, undoubtedly, that which is revealed in the gospel - the great system of truth respecting the redemption of the world.
Through the Spirit - By the agency of the Holy Spirit. It is his office to apply truth to the mind; and however precious the truth may be, and however adapted to secure certain results on the soul, it will never produce those effects without the influences of the Holy Spirit. Compare Titus 3:5-6; the notes at John 3:5.
Unto unfeigned love of the brethren - The effect of the influence of the Holy Spirit in applying the truth has been to produce sincere love to all who are true Christians. Compare the John 13:34 note; 1 Thessalonians 4:9 note. See also 1 John 3:14-18.
(1)that it should be genuine love proceeding from a heart in which there is no guile or hypocrisy; and,
(2)that it should be intense affection, ( ἐκτενῶς ektenōsnot cold and formal, but ardent and strong.
If there is any reason why we should love true Christians at all, there is the same reason why our attachment to them should be intense. This verse establishes the following points:
(1) That truth was at the foundation of their piety. They had none of which this was not the proper basis; and in which the foundation was not as broad as the superstructure. There is no religion in the world which is not the fair developement of truth; which the truth is not suited to produce.
(2) they became Christians as the result of obeying the truth; or by yielding to its fair influence on the soul. Their own minds complied with its claims; their own hearts yielded; there was the exercise of their own volitions. This expresses a doctrine of great importance:
(a)There is always the exercise of the powers of the mind in true religion; always a yielding to truth; always a voluntary reception of it into the soul.
(b)Religion is always of the nature of obedience. It consists in yielding to what is true and right; in laying aside the feelings of opposition, and in allowing the mind to follow where truth and duty lead.
(c)This would always take place when the truth is presented to the mind, if there were no voluntary resistance. If all people were ready to yield to the truth, they would become Christians. The only reason why all people do not love and serve God is that they refuse to yield to what they know to be true and right.
(3) the agency by which this was accomplished was that of the Holy Spirit. Truth is adapted in itself to a certain end or result, as seed is adapted to produce a harvest. But it will no more of itself produce its appropriate effects on the soul, than seed will produce a harvest without rains, and dews, and suns. In all cases, therefore, the proper effect of truth on the soul is to be traced to the influence of the Holy Spirit, as the germination of the seed in the earth is to the foreign cause that acts on it. No man was ever converted by the mere effect of truth without the agency of the Holy Spirit, any more than seed germinates when laid upon a hard rock.
(4) the effect of this influence of the Holy Spirit in applying the truth is to produce love to all who are Christians. Love to Christian brethren springs up in the soul of everyone who is truly converted: and this love is just as certain evidence that the seed of truth has germinated in the soul, as the green and delicate blade that peeps up through the earth is evidence that the seed sown has been quickened into life. Compare the 1 Thessalonians 4:9 note; 1 John 3:14 note. We may learn hence:
(a)that truth is of inestimable value. It is as valuable as religion itself, for all the religion in the world is the result of it.
(b)Error and falsehood are mischievous and evil in the same degree. There is no true religion which is the fair result of error; and all the pretended religion that is sustained by error is worthless.
(c)If a system of religion, or a religious measure or doctrine, cannot be defended by truth, it should be at once abandoned. Compare the notes at Job 13:7.
(d)We should avoid the places where error is taught. Proverbs 19:27, “cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.”
(e)We should place ourselves under the teachings of truth, for there is truth enough in the world to occupy all our time and attention; and it is only by truth that our minds can be benefitted.
Grace is unmerited favor, and the believer is justified without any merit of his own, without any claim to offer to God. He is justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who stands in the courts of heaven as the sinner's substitute and surety. But while he is justified because of the merit of Christ, he is not free to work unrighteousness. Faith works by love and purifies the soul. Faith buds and blossoms and bears a harvest of precious fruit. Where faith is, good works appear. The sick are visited, the poor are cared for, the fatherless and the widows are not neglected, the naked are clothed, the destitute are fed. Christ went about doing good, and when men are united with Him, they love the children of God, and meekness and truth guide their footsteps. The expression of the countenance reveals their experience, and men take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus and learned of Him. Christ and the believer become one, and His beauty of character is revealed in those who are vitally connected with the Source of power and love. Christ is the great depositary of justifying righteousness and sanctifying grace. 1SM 398.1
All may come to Him, and receive of His fullness. He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Then why not cast aside all unbelief and heed the words of Jesus? You want rest; you long for peace. Then say from the heart, “Lord Jesus, I come, because Thou hast given me this invitation.” Believe in Him with steadfast faith, and He will save you. Have you been looking unto Jesus, who is the author and finisher of your faith? Have you been beholding Him who is full of truth and grace? Have you accepted the peace which Christ alone can give? If you have not, then yield to Him, and through His grace seek for a character that will be noble and elevated. Seek for a constant, resolute, cheerful spirit. Feed on Christ, who is the bread of life, and you will manifest His loveliness of character and spirit. 1SM 398.2Read in context »
There are dangers to be guarded against on the right hand and on the left. There will be inexperienced ones, newly come to the faith, who need to be strengthened, and to have a correct example before them. Some will not make a right use of the doctrine of justification by faith. They will present it in a one-sided manner. 2SM 20.1
Others will seize the ideas that have not been correctly presented, and will go clear over the mark, ignoring works altogether. 2SM 20.2
Now genuine faith always works by love. When you look to Calvary it is not to quiet your soul in the nonperformance of duty, not to compose yourself to sleep, but to create faith in Jesus, faith that will work, purifying the soul from the slime of selfishness. When we lay hold of Christ by faith, our work has just begun. Every man has corrupt and sinful habits that must be overcome by vigorous warfare. Every soul is required to fight the fight of faith. If one is a follower of Christ, he cannot be sharp in deal, he cannot be hardhearted, devoid of sympathy. He cannot be coarse in his speech. He cannot be full of pomposity and self-esteem. He cannot be overbearing, nor can he use harsh words, and censure and condemn. 2SM 20.3Read in context »
22 (Romans 5:1; Galatians 5:6; Ephesians 2:8; Hebrews 11:1). The Creation of Faith—Under the inspiration of the Spirit, the apostle Peter represents Christians as those who have purified their souls in obeying the truth. Just in accordance with the faith and love we bring into our work will be the power brought into it. No man can create faith. The Spirit operating upon and enlightening the human mind, creates faith in God. In the Scriptures faith is stated to be the gift of God, powerful unto salvation, enlightening the hearts of those who search for truth as for hidden treasure. The Spirit of God impresses the truth on the heart. The gospel is called the power of God unto salvation because God alone can make the truth a power which sanctifies the soul. He alone can render the cross of Christ triumphant (Manuscript 56, 1899). 7BC 940.3Read in context »
In order to meet the requirements of the law, our faith must grasp the righteousness of Christ, accepting it as our righteousness. Through union with Christ, through acceptance of His righteousness by faith, we may be qualified to work the works of God, to be colaborers with Christ. If you are willing to drift along with the current of evil, and do not cooperate with the heavenly agencies in restraining transgression in your family, and in the church, in order that everlasting righteousness may be brought in, you do not have faith. Faith works by love and purifies the soul. Through faith the Holy Spirit works in the heart to create holiness therein; but this cannot be done unless the human agent will work with Christ. We can be fitted for heaven only through the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart; for we must have Christ's righteousness as our credentials if we would find access to the Father. In order that we may have the righteousness of Christ, we need daily to be transformed by the influence of the Spirit, to be a partaker of the divine nature. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to elevate the taste, to sanctify the heart, to ennoble the whole man. 1SM 374.1
Let the soul look to Jesus. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). No one will be forced to look to Christ; but the voice of invitation is sounding in yearning entreaty, “Look and live.” In looking to Christ, we shall see that His love is without a parallel, that He has taken the place of the guilty sinner, and has imputed unto him His spotless righteousness. When the sinner sees his Saviour dying upon the cross under the curse of sin in his stead, beholding His pardoning love, love awakes in his heart. The sinner loves Christ, because Christ has first loved him, and love is the fulfilling of the law. The repenting soul realizes that God “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The Spirit of God works in the believer's soul, enabling him to advance from one line of obedience to another, reaching on from strength to greater strength, from grace to grace in Jesus Christ. 1SM 374.2Read in context »