“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.”
in obeying the truth
How does Christian become purified? By obeying the truth of the gospel. God wants absolute subjection to the truth of the gospel.
This follows the principle of absolute subjection to the truth of the Bible. By obeying the Bible, lasting effects will impact our daily lives. The seed of all practical obedience lies in vital faith. The faith that we to come to Christ by, we live by (Colossians 2:6). This is the origin of true Christian living.
Faith is obedience, and faith produces obedience. If my faith does not produce obedience, it is not true faith.
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).
People generally turn this around–they try to become righteous from without. “If I practice righteousness, then I’ll be righteous within.” That is totally the reverse of what the Bible pleads. The Bible argues that we accept Christ first, then we will live the life of Christ. We do not live the life of Christ and then see our nature change a more godly life.
Conduct comes from character. Character comes from Christ! If we accept Christ as our Savior, we accept the truth (John 14:6). The truth which doesn’t transform and mold conduct is a king dethroned. Truth is a separating power.
Instead of believing that truth produces change, people believe they can become righteous from without. “If I practice righteousness, I will be righteous from within,” some say. This is the reverse of the teaching of Scripture. This is a castle of cards. In our day, we could care less about truth. We value only experience instead.
The truth does not purify many because they do not obey the truth (John 8:31, 32). Truth emancipates people from the habits of sin, the seductive spell of sin, the power of sin. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to do this (John 17:17). This is the cleansing truth of God’s Word.
We do truth when we appropriate it to experience (Jn 8:31, 32; 17:17; 20:31; Acts 6:7,17; Ga 3:1; 5:7; Eph 5:26; 1 Th 2:11-13; 2 Th 2:10-13; Jas 1:22). The truth of God’s Word is effective when we do something about what we know (Jn 13:17; Acts 6:7; Ro 6:17; Ga 3:1, 5:7; 2 Th1:7-9; Jas 1:22).
“Obey” here is the obedience that is brought about by truth. The absolute subjection to the truth of the Word of God causes it to work in our hearts.
We also met the word “obedience” in verse 2. This is an amplification of that passage. This word occurs again in 1 Peter 4:17, which says,
“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
Truth is a separating power.
There are two errors when it comes to attitudes about the Word of God:
1. We care less about doctrine, only experience.
However, true faith produces obedience (Ja 2:26).
2. We have done all that the truth asks of us when we intellectually endorse truth.
The purpose of truth is to change lives. God does not tell us simply that we might know (Jas 1:22; Jn 17:17; 1 Pe 2:2; 1 Th 2:11-13; opposite—2 Th 2:10-13).
The truth that does not mold and transforms character and conduct is a king dethroned. Truth is a separating power. The reason there is so little love is that there is so little obedience to the truth.