Reading: 1 Peter 1:22
Almost every writer in the New Testament deals with the theme of Christian love. Those first-century Christians realised the importance of brethren dwelling together in unity and godly harmony. Sadly, the subject of Christian love has fallen on hard times. Bitterness and evil speaking have replaced graciousness and edifying fellowship. Suspicion and anger fill the hearts of many. Christian love is viewed as a dangerous compromise to be avoided. Peter addresses this theme in a direct way with the statement of our text: “See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” It is clear from these words that
Christ has commanded that His people love one another. It was the Saviour Himself who said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you” (John 13:34). As Christ has loved His people, so His people are to love each other. If we love Him, we will love each other because that is His will for us. Obedience to Christ demands harmony with the saints.
Loving one another is an integral part of our communion with the saints. Saving faith has not only brought the believer into a saving, vital, living, and eternal union with Christ, it has also brought us into a special union with all those who are in Christ. We are one in Christ.
Without true Christian love all else is empty and vain. Christian love has often been described as “the queen of Christian graces.” Thomas Watson called it “a lovely grace” and said that “all the other graces seem to be eclipsed unless love shines and sparkles forth in them.” It is a chief grace.
When Christ through the mighty operation of His Spirit, brings a sinner into reconciliation and communion with Himself, He ushers him also into the fellowship and reconciliation and communion with all other believers. (James Bannerman, The Church of Christ)