Author & Audience
We are continuing our study of the first letter of Shimon Kefa (Simon Peter). Shimon, as one of the twelve (12) Shl’chim, became known as the Apostle to the Jews. Shimon wrote to the believing communities who were living in the region of Asia Minor (mostly in modern day Turkey). These believers were primarily Jewish followers of Yeshua, but also included Gentiles who had been grafted into the body of Messiah. As such, the recipients of the letter were very much like Hineh Yeshua – Jews and Gentiles one in Messiah. It continues to be important to remember that this Epistle was written to communities who were going through times of trial and suffering. Also, they were also about to enter into a greater time of persecution by the Roman Emperor Nero around 62AD.
Last time we were truly encouraged by Peter to get our minds ready for action, to live balanced lives and to be ready to receive the gift of God’s grace upon the return of Yeshua our Messiah. We are to live holy lives in obedience to God in anticipation for the Messiah’s return when he will come and judge all of us impartially according to our deeds. Peter also reminded us that we have been redeemed, not by silver or gold or anything perishable, but by the cost bloody sacrificial death of Yeshua our Messiah. No one can earn his or her salvation; it is a free gift of God’s grace that is received by faith in Yeshua. Surely contemplating Yeshua’s extraordinary sacrifice for us is motivation enough for living holy lives? Today we will look at Peter’s instructions about Living in Harmony:
Read 1 Peter 1:22–2:3
Living in Harmony by Living in Love
Vs 22 (CJB) Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth, so that you have a sincere love for your brothers, love each other deeply, with all your heart.
When you obey the truth, it results in a purified life. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” (Psalm 119:9, CJB) Just as going through trials and suffering refines your faith, so obedience to God’s word refines one’s character.  Obedience is not an optional extra for disciples. It should rather define the life of a disciple. And a changed life should be evidenced by changed relationships with all of God’s children – in other words, with everyone. Now that you’ve been purified, “…you have a sincere love for your brothers, love each other deeply, with all your heart.”
The word for “sincere” (anypokriton) could also be translated “without hypocrisy.” Sincere love, true love, without hypocrisy… Peter uses two words for “love” in v. 22: the first one is translated “brotherly love” is the Greek word philadelphia. And the second word he uses for love is “divine love” (agape). Agape kind of love is to love like a believer. That is — to have a strong, non-sexual affection and love for a person and their good as understood by God’s moral character; especially characterized by a willing forfeiture of rights or privileges on another person’s behalf. This love is to expressed deeply (ektenōs) – meaning at “full stretch” or in an “all-out manner,” with an “intense strain”… (Ponder! Discipleship)
Vs 23 (CJB) You have been born again not from some seed that will decay, but from one that cannot decay, through the living Word of God that lasts forever.
Kefa reminds us that we have been born-again. That is why we can have the power to love each other sincerely. That power is active in our lives because of the living Word of God which “lasts forever” – it is living and enduring. Basically Kefa is reminding us that; “Whatever we do in obedience to the Word of God will last forever! But whatever we do in the energy of the flesh will look beautiful for a time, but will then die. To back up his statements, Kefa quotes the Tenach from the prophet Isaiah 40:6-8.
Vs 24–25a (CJB) 24 For all humanity is like grass, all its glory is like a wildflower— the grass withers, and the flower falls off; 25 but the Word of ADONAI lasts forever. Moreover, this Word is the Good News which has been proclaimed to you.
Peter’s use of the Tenach re-emphases the fact that he is writing to a Jewish audience who are familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures. Those words from Isaiah 40 are words of comfort to the Jewish people that God would not forsake them but bring them up out of Babylon into their own land once again. Their suffering in exile would not last forever. And, as we know, his word was fulfilled. He is a faithful God and His word endures forever. Amen!
Vs 25b (CJB) Moreover, this Word is the Good News which has been proclaimed to you.
How does the Word of God come to us?
- Through Yeshua the Messiah who is the very word of God made flesh (Jn 1:1-2)
- Through Scripture – “the Word of Adonai last forever.”
- Through Proclamation – the preaching of the Gospel, the Good News.
Because of the fact that we have been born again, we are to live differently as Kefa will now go on to tell us.
Living in Harmony by Living as New Born Babes
1 Peter 2:1–3 (CJB) 1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, of all deceit, hypocrisy and envy, and of all the ways there are of speaking against people; 2 and be like newborn babies, thirsty for the pure milk of the Word; so that by it, you may grow up into deliverance. 3 For you have tasted that ADONAI is good.
“Rid yourself” – put off, lay down, cast off, as in divesting oneself of a garment. This speaks of a deliberate and intentional act of putting aside of five sins of attitude and speech that are a hindrance to living in harmony.
- Malice (kakian) is wicked ill-will
- Deceit (dolon) is deliberate dishonesty
- Hypocrisy (hypokriseis), pretended piety and love
- Envy (phthonous), resentful discontent
- Slander (katalalias), backbiting lies or lashon hara (lit. evil tongue – derogatory speech about another person).
Instead we should be like “newborn babies.” What are the characteristics of babies?
The pure milk of the Word is what nourishes us. We are to crave the unadulterated spiritual milk of the word. (Don’t worry, it comes in lactose free versions.) It is sad when believers have no appetite for the Word of God but rather crave “religious entertainment” instead. But just as a baby moves on and starts to receive solid food, so we as believers need to get our teeth in to the meat of the word (apologies to the vegetarians here but you can’t really say “get into the tofu of the word”) When we are properly fed spiritually speaking then we will grow up or mature in our salvation. This is the goal that God has for every believer. God wants us to grow spiritually and become mature in Him. God doesn’t want us to be spoon fed believers. We need to learn to feed ourselves spiritually. Hearing a sermon from the Word of God is important each week but it is not enough to feed you spiritually all week long. You need to learn to feed yourself.
Hebrews (5:12–14) says: “For although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the very first principles of God’s Word all over again! You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who has to drink milk is still a baby, without experience in applying the Word about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by continuous exercise to distinguish good from evil.” (CJB)
As mature believers we are to eat the solid food of the Word. His word is good, his word is spiritual life as the Psalmist said; “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.” (Psalm 119:103–104, ESV) In verse 3 Peter quotes Ps 34:9 “Taste, and see that ADONAI is good. How blessed are those who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:9, CJB) The Lord is good. We’ve tasted that, we’ve appropriated that truth into our lives… And once we’ve tasted of the Lord we cannot go back.
(Testimony of Harold Vallins: “now that he knows the Lord he can never deny him…)http://www.messianicgoodnews.org/rabbi-harold-vallins/
 Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 737). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.