As chapter one draws to a close, Paul transitions his attention to the relationships the exiles have with one another. In light of their faith in Christ, these first generation Jewish and Gentile believers are to relate in a specific way. As those who have been born again, they are to love one another deeply. This love is not a mere tolerance, flattering, or pandering. Their care for each other is to be sincere and earnest reflecting the grace and truth of the gospel they have believed. It was not an easy calling for a culturally diverse group who were exasperated by a variety of trials. What can unite a tired and oppressed people inclined toward selfishness, jealousy, and slander? The love that will bind the redeemed must find its source in the Redeemer. Peter points to the word of God as the means of their new birth as well as the means to transform their hearts toward brotherly love.
Peter draws on the Old Testament to broaden his audience’s grasp of the good news, which has been proclaimed since the first exile in Genesis 3. The gospel and its implications for all of life was the sustenance the exiles needed, the provision we need today. Christ’s church is to long for and crave the word of God, which leads it to grow up into salvation. The Christian never outgrows the basics. Love your brothers and sisters earnestly. Feed on the word of God.