1 Peter 1:22-23
Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned love of the brothers…
I. CHRISTIANITY MUST SATISFY THE INTELLECTUAL REQUIREMENTS OF EVERY AGE.
1. In order to this, Christianity in its statements, historical and doctrinal, must be in perfect accord with the demonstrations of science in the various departments of knowledge to which it devotes itself.
2. To be perpetuated as the religion of the race, Christianity must not only harmonise with the conclusions of the intellect in other provinces, but must continue to offer new problems of its own. The moment the Bible will be an understood book, it will be a moribund book. And what it proves itself to be to individual man in innumerable cases, that it claims to be to man universal. Let the ages be yet cultivated with greater diligence and trained to a higher point in knowledge than anything we have so far witnessed, and the Gospel has its questions for them, problems which will utterly baffle the finest cultured minds. This assuredly is one element which contributes powerfully to its perpetuity, that the intellect can never minster it.
3. But in a religion which claims perpetuity you would further expect it would stimulate the understanding into greater activity, and infuse new life into all its pursuits. That is to say, it must become the prime factor in the history of the world. Christianity does exercise restraint, not upon progress but upon retrogression; not upon truth but upon sin; not upon the intellect but upon the spirit which is now working in the children of disobedience. It checks the spirit of the nineteenth century, it spurs its science.
II. IF CHRISTIANITY IS TO LIVE FOREVER, IT MUST MEET THE MORAL REQUIREMENTS OF EVERY AGE.
1. This implies that it must accord with the distinct dictates of our moral nature.
2. Another requisite, in order to its perpetuation, is that it be in advance of the moral performances of any particular age.
3. Christianity, to endure forever, must enter into the morals of the world as a refining element. War — ferocity — butchery — is that your civilisation? demand our opponents. We answer, Certainly not; that is barbarism. That is not Christianity, but its opposite, and a cogent reason why Christianity should not be thrown aside till they at least have been exterminated.
III. IF THE GOSPEL IS TO ENDURE TO THE END OF TIME, IT MUST CONTINUE TO MEET THE SPIRITUAL WANTS OF MAN. If it do not this it is inevitably doomed to extinction.
1. As a sinner, man needs a Saviour. The sinner finds true inward rest in the atonement of the Gospel, the sense of guilt is cancelled.
2. As a creature he needs God. Cast a glance over the history of the world; everywhere the great want is God. What then can give us God? Science does not profess to be able to give Him. Professor Huxley says that the state of mind becoming men of science on this subject is a sort of know nothingarianism or Agnosticism. Well then, if science cannot do it, is there any religion besides Christianity that can? Mahometanism declares the unity and supremacy of God. But to say that God is, and that He is the supreme Ruler, is one thing; to bring Him to the conscious enjoyment of the soul quite another. The religion of India strives to bridge the gap; but instead of communion between man and God, it ends in the absorption of man in God. But however much we desire communion, we quite as much dread absorption. These meet only a fragment of our nature. But Christianity meets the whole man; it presents God to our contemplation in Him in whom "all the fulness of the Godhead dwelleth bodily," and to our consciousness by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. As long as man is a sinner needing a Saviour, and a creature needing a God, Christianity will live in the grateful affection of myriads of our race.
(J. C. Jones, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: