22 Since you have, in obedience to the truth, purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
24 For, “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls off,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.
Relationships depend on what people bring to the table. We hear a lot of talk about baggage being drug around negatively impacting different people. Notice Peter’s first comment — you have obeyed the truth and purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren. Coming to a relationship with a purified soul is the key to things going well. Conscience is part of the soul, and if it is clogged up with guilt or shame, it will quickly impact any relationship. For one thing, it ties up a portion of the emotional parts of the person and makes them unavailable to someone in that aspect of their life. Psychologists discuss projecting feelings, attitudes, and actions on someone because of unresolved personal issues. Don’t forget that a conscience can be cleared and reset to where it provides freedom instead of bondage.
Hebrews 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
The conscience, according to Romans 2, is supposed to accuse or excuse as it provides a moral compass for a person’s thinking. If a person defiles or sears their conscience, it can get inverted and accuse or excuse the opposite of what it should. A person in that condition may have great difficulty in relationships. There is something to hide, a feeling of shame and guilt that makes open transparency impossible. Note the solution — the blood of Christ can cleanse a defiled conscience and free it from dead works to serve the living God.
That’s Peter’s premise. In verse 2, he spoke of obedience going hand in hand with being sprinkled with blood. If you obey God and rely on the cleansing blood, you will be ready for loving, sincere relationships. That’s what makes church sweet when it is. On the other hand, people with unresolved conflicts and impure hearts live in lust and frustration that will boil over into inexplicable conflict at any moment. It is beautiful when people come together in obedience and purity and then fervently (passionately, forgivingly, unconditionally, respectfully)
love each other from the heart.
There is another dimension to understanding the foundation for healthy relationships. The Word of God is a huge part of everything. The new birth is inseparably linked to the Word, which is imperishable, living, and enduring and was the seed that made life in the family of God possible. So anchor your soul in the Word. Saturate yourself with it and let it change you as it conforms you to the image of Christ. Again, don’t try to wrest the Scriptures to some personal interpretation. Instead, receive the Word into your spirit and wait on the Holy Spirit and Jesus to form the Word into your soul and body. Realize that the commands of the Bible are being given to the Christ in you, and that’s good because He can obey them.
As your life is built on the Word of God and you walk in obedience to it, your conscience will constantly be cleansed and kept accessible for investing in meaningful relationships that will be a source of joy and comfort. This eternal Word is your hope for all good things. Be glad!