“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified yourselves for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart …”. (I Peter 1:22)
Sometimes scripture points out weak areas in our lives on which we need to work, but here God commands His people to improve on a strength! He commends them through Peter for purifying their lives and sincerely loving their brothers in Christ. This phrase “sincere love of the brethren” is literally “unhypocritical philadelphia” — brotherly love. This sentence is in the past tense — in other words, they were doing this already.
But although they evidenced a healthy brotherly love for each other, he doesn’t want them to “sit on their laurels.” He challenges these believers to take their love for each other to the next level. Now that they have this sincere brotherly love, he exhorts them to “fervently love” one another. The word “love” in this phrase changes to the Greek word “agape”, the ultimate, selfless kind of love that God demonstrated for us when He sent Jesus.
So He’s saying to His people: you possess a real, brotherly love for each other — that is good! He could say this very thing to a number of individuals and churches in America today. We are often very fond of our fellow brothers & sisters in Christ. We enjoy worshiping and fellowshipping together. But we are not to be content with that. NOW we are to develop for each other the kind of fervent, selfless love that God has shown us.
Who might you say that you are “fond of” in your church? God is telling you here to look for ways to sacrificially serve these brothers & sisters in the way that Jesus sacrificed Himself for you. It’s time to take your love to the next level.