In 1 Peter 1:22, Peter writers, “Having purified your souls by obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.”
This “purifying” is not initial saving faith. The New Testament never speaks of people playing an active role in their conversion. The Greek word for “purified” is hagnizo which means “moral cleansing.” Peter already assumes that these people are converted (vv. 1, 3, 10, 18, 19, 21), so it is more likely that this purification is simply sanctification. Christians play a much more active role in sanctification (cf. James 4:8; 1 John 3:3). As Christians, we are more and more sanctified when we are obedient to the truth. When this happens, we are becoming more like Christ.
Now, the phrase “for a sincere brotherly love” may lead us to think that the purpose of sanctification is to sincerely love people. Sincere brotherly love is more a result of sanctification than a goal. The goal of sanctification is Christlikeness, and brotherly love is certainly a component of that. However, if that were the goal of sanctification, there would no doubt be many private sins that never harm others that would not inhibit sanctification. But we know that this certainly is not the case in our Christian journey.
Since we have been born again (vv. 1-21), are now joining God in the sanctification process (v. 22a), and understand how to have sincere brotherly love (v. 22b), we are to “love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (v. 22c). Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection.” Hebrews 13:1 says, “Let brotherly love continue.” We are to love with earnest from a pure heart. The word “earnest” in Greek is ektenos that comes from a verb which means to “stretch out the hand,” thus it means to be stretched out — earnest, resolute, tense. We are to be intentional, bold, and heartfelt with others. We are to be the stiff, strong arm that reaches for someone to hold on to in hard times. We are to be the stalwart rock for people, like Jesus is for us, so they can see that Jesus is the true rock of defense when they are in dire straits.
I want to love people like this. Lord, help me.