Our love for one another is to be fervent and unpretentious; but how can we, who are natively selfish, demonstrate this kind of love? It is only because the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit; and now as children of God, we are able to demonstrate His love to other members of the family.
But being fully aware of our weakness as redeemed and yet not fully sanctified sinners, Peter knows that we will come short of this kind of love; so in verses 2:1-3, he gives us guidelines as to how we can grow in our love for one another. First, we must put off those things that marked us in our fallen condition: malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. As weeds in our yards and gardens crop up from time to time and need to be killed or plucked up, these sins will regularly crop up in our hearts and must be put to death. If they are allowed to grow unchecked, they will choke the grace of love in us. Secondly, as newborn infants thirst for milk and need it for their daily growth, we are to feed upon the “sincere milk of the word”-the gospel of our salvation. As we do, we will grow more in spiritual graces, and in particular this grace of love. Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers that they would know the breadth, length, height, and depth of God’s incomprehensible love for us in Christ (Eph 3:18-19). And finally, we are to abide in, feed upon, and learn from Christ, who is love incarnate. The more we know Him, the more we become like Him, and the more His love shines through us to others. May the Lord help us to demonstrate to the world that we are Christ’s disciples by our fervent love for one another.