1 Peter 1:22-23 Identity: Pure Heart

22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

Pure Heart

The pure heart loves.  The love in this passage is a pure, brotherly love.  The pure heart does not seek to defend itself, hide itself, or justify itself.  It seeks to spend itself, sacrifice itself, expose itself.  The pure heart, therefore must know pain.  The pure heart must find peace on the other side of working through its fears.  It is bold and brave.  It is vulnerable but courageous.

How is such a heart cultivated?  Without eternal resources to spend a giving heart will be spent.  Love is a gift from God.  Without acknowledging and approaching the giver there can be little in terms of confidence.  Humans break.  Humanity is inconsistent, foolish, proud, and vain.  Even our greatest confidante, support and guide, if they are human, can be taken away in an instant.  Love is only eternal because it flows from the eternal heart of God.  How is it that God knows how to endure pain, spend himself, and sacrifice himself?  Of course, Jesus has the purest of hearts.  Gratitude creates a pure heart.  Humility creates a pure heart.

If a heart loves in earnest, love must be sincere.  It must hate what is evil.  It must turn away from self-serving corrupt practices and cling to what is good.  The passion for the good of others will carry the pure heart into many storms.  Insincerity is a veneer that covers a cold heart, an aching heart, or the absence of a heart.  Sincerity wants the best and shows it by action when times become hard.  It attends small group for the sake of the others present, even when there are reasons to stay at home.  It prays for others with heartfelt concern, even when tiredness and fatigue would bid us to sleep.  It seeks God’s truth in scripture, not for the benefit that it brings in daily living, but primarily for the relationship it develops between the individual and God.  As that relationship becomes central to all of life, so the impurities of the heart are melted away and it blazes like the sun superheated by renewal and rebirth.


Have mercy on me,[a] O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgement.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right[b] spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
    build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.


  1. How does one purify their soul?
  2. What two qualifiers describe how Christians love?
  3. How does being born again change how one loves?
  4. How are you aware of your heart’s purity?
  5. How do you behave in accordance with a pure heart?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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3 Responses to 1 Peter 1:22-23 Identity: Pure Heart

  1. Christina Zezulak says:

    Purifying your soul happens through obedience to the truth (v. 22).
    Christians love is sincere, comes from a pure heart, and resembles the closeness family should have together (v. 22). When a person is born again, they are united to God, the eternal resource of love. Love goes from being conditional and vain to being unconditional and pure. The best example of this genuine love is Jesus Christ himself. It is only through Him that myself or any other believer is able to love the way God calls us to, because He is the one that gives us the love to give to others.

  2. 33324bg says:

    Synonyms for the word “sincere” used in vs. 22 include “unfeigned, undisguised, without hypocrisy.” God’s calling us not to “fake it until we make it” in loving our brothers, but to have genuine love for them, real love. Romans 12:9 is a good cross-reference. It reads, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”

    We’re not disguising our true feelings for/ about a person, our heart is on our sleeve so to speak, we’re openly loving from the spring and fount that God is for us. But Peter says sincere love for the brethren is not enough, the central command is to “fervently love one another from the heart.” In vs. 22 and the following verse he gives us two reasons we should do so. The first reason mentioned is this: because we’ve purified our souls (in obedience to God’s word), we might as well go all the way with our loving. We’ve purified our souls, so that we can love sincerely; well, to love sincerely the best, we should love fervently. If we really want to dump loads of love on our brethren, the way to do that is by loving intensely, earnestly. This is what God wants for us. It’s like Peter is saying, “If you truly want to capture the spirit, the intent of God’s truth, you must love one another fervently.”

    More could be said about this first reason, but the second reason is found in verse 23. Because we’ve been born again through God’s powerful word, we should fervently love one another from the heart! In other words, because we’ve been chosen, because we’re not of this world anymore, we should do what children of God are to do- love fervently, like our Savior.

    The Greek word for “fervently” is found only two other times in the NT. One in Acts 12:5 to describe how the church prayed for Peter while he was in prison. And the other time in Luke 22:44 to describe how Jesus prayed in the Garden Gethsemane. As evidence of the agony He was in and His fervency, He sweat drops of blood.

    Based on the two passages listed above one can easily decipher how one way fervent loving practically shows itself is in fervent praying.

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