“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.”
Verse 22 gives the properties of love: sincere love, a pure heart, and passionate or fervent love. Christian love is not hypocritical, impure, and inactive. It is a new kind of love that requires a new kind of life. This new kind of life came to us when we believed (v.21).
Experiential cleansing results in unhypocritical love for the brethren. Purity precedes unhypocritical love. No one can love without the enabling of God’s Spirit. Love, based on a supernatural life, is not hypocritical.
Ancient Greek used the word “hypocrite” to describe the actor on the stage. He was the one who played the part of another. The word literally means to judge from under a mask. Some in Peter’s day had put on a front of hypocritical love over their usual appearances.
In the Greco-Roman world, a hypocrite was an actor who wore a mask. He had two masks, a smiling face, and a frowning face. If he wore the frowning face, he depicted a tragedy. If he wore a smiling face, everything was happy. Whether he played the part of tragedy or happiness, he never showed his real thinking but the thinking of another. He was a hypocrite, a pretender.
God wants us to love others without pretense. God does not was us to be an actor when it comes to love. Love must come from genuine care about others.
“Sincere” indicates real love or genuine love. True love lacks pretense (2 Corinthians 6:6; 1 Peter 1:22; Romans 12:9; 1 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 1:5; James 3:17).
True love does not wear a mask and cannot be counterfeited.
Do you pretend to love others? We often profess more than we feel. There is a synthetic love abroad in the church. It is a counterfeit, imitation love. This love is nothing more than a sham.
This kind of love only works on nice people. It is easy to like friendly people. When we run into people who are not nice, then we run out of love. Man-made love will work only on people who reciprocate.
The love of God enables the child of God to love without response, without reciprocation. This is a love that only the Holy Spirit gives.
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).
Someone might say, “Well, I show concern for fellow Christians. I shake their hand every Sunday morning and say, ‘It is sure good to see you, my friend.’ I invite them to all the socials. I smile at them.” These things are fine, but they do not necessarily love. If we do this simply because the church needs more people, it’s not true love. People will sense a phony.
God wants more than an actor who plays a role in what others might think of them. He wants us to express genuine love for others. People will know this.
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:9-10)
God doesn’t want us to wear a mask representing ourselves as something other than what we are. He doesn’t want us to pretend we are something that we are not. Genuine love does not wear a mask.