Love — Like Your Soul Depends On It
Robert Wurtz II
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “ALL FLESH IS AS GRASS, AND ALL THE GLORY OF MAN AS THE FLOWER OF THE GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND ITS FLOWER FALLS AWAY, BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you (1 Peter 1:22-25 NKJV).
The greatest thing we can achieve in this life is to come to the end knowing we have loved both God and our fellow man fervently and with a pure heart. All other glories (achievements) will wither and fall away. In the final analysis, the only thing that matters is how we loved God and loved one another. This truth should be like frontlets before our eyes.
Jesus trained His disciples to love people. The time would fail to list the many examples where brotherly love was the subject. Two thousand years later, Christians emphasize everything under the Sun except the things Jesus emphasized. Too often, we major in the minors and minor in the majors. It will be too late to get this right once we stand in the judgment.
We don’t have a lot to go on about knowing what the judgment will be like; we only know that we must give an account of the deeds we have done in this body, whether they are good or evil. If the dialogue looks anything like the conversation between God and Job, we are in for many questions. I wonder if most of the questions will simply be, “Did you sincerely love _______?” (Insert a name) Did you treat them the way you would want to be treated?
It’s easy for people to get caught up in the world’s idea of leaving something permanent behind for folks to remember us by. Memorials, as it were. Some build a legacy, and others a dynasty. Others want to leave something tangible like a building or a business. Men such as Henry Ford left all of these, but the real question is, “Did you sincerely love _______?” (Insert a name) Did you treat them the way you would want to be treated?
The word that Peter preached has the power to transform a selfish, hateful, and vindictive person into one who can fervently love with a pure heart. The Greek word translated earnestly is ektnos, and it’s only used once in the New Testament. In the Greek Old Testament (LXX), it’s used in Jonah 3:8 to describe how the people of Nineveh yelled intensely for mercy, begging God to spare their lives. That’s the intensity. What would it look like if we loved like our souls depended on it?
It’s been said that when we get to Heaven, we will be amazed by who was really saved and who was not. The reason many will be surprised is that they didn’t believe Jesus. He told us that we will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-19). Many will say, LORD, LORD have we not done many acts of power? (Matthew 7:22) They assume God’s seal of approval is the supernatural—forgetting that Jannes and Jambres moved in the supernatural (2 Timothy 3:8).
Many on that day will weep and wail because they put the “glory of man” or some temporal concern ahead of fervent love for their fellow man (Matthew 18:21-35). Many love with their mouth, but their actions do not match (1 John 3:18). Ambition, envy, self-glory, and pride blinds people to the truth of their own behavior. Peter says that all flesh is like plants that grow up in the springtime and die in the fall. The glory of man is like flowers that bloom and then wilt.
Yet, the Word of God is eternal. People may change the emphasis to a million self-seeking doctrines, but this cannot alter the timeless truth that God has revealed. “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.” We need to love one another like our very souls depend on it.