“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 are in a section of 1 Peter that challenges the Christian to live as obedient children. This verse is yet another responsibility to live out the excellence of the Christian life.
Since you have purified your souls
Peter takes for granted (”since“) that salvation purifies the soul. There is no question in his mind.
“Purified” means to cleanse from defilement (the heart, James 4:8; the soul, 1 Peter 1:22; oneself, 1 John 3:3). It means to wash off, to wash away, or to cause a state of moral purity.
To purify is to remove all foreign elements. Plutarch uses this word when he describes the marriage vows of the ancient world. The bride must touch both “fire” and “water,” then she becomes purified. The Old Testament uses this word for the rites of the atonement.
The Greek tense in “have purified” means God purified our souls at one point in the past with the results continuing into the future. God has cleansed us positionally at the point of salvation, and the effects of a changed life that flow from cleansing. This is a past purifying, our regeneration.
“…who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works,” (Titus 2:14).
Our souls stand purified permanently because we have come to trust in the finished work of Christ for our salvation. Asia Minor Christians were cleansed as Peter wrote to them. They stood before God in a regenerate state.
Christians who trust in Christ today have purified souls. God has purged our sins and purified our soul when we come to the cross.
“…who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3).
At salvation, God regenerates the soul of the person who believes in the finished work of Christ to forgive sins.
A lost soul (Mark 8:36) is an impure soul, a dirty soul. Saved people have pure souls. We cannot go to heaven without one. We have a pure soul positionally (or legally) before God forever when we trust the work of Christ on the cross to forgive our sins.