Sometimes the truth that a friend shares strikes a nerve. Such is the case of one Old Testament prophet who reveals a painful truth in Jeremiah 17:9. When your heart becomes open to the possibility that you’re not as nice as you should be, your soul becomes open to changing for the better. This is the message that Peter has for a teachable spirit: purify your heart with sincere affection.
Since by your obedience to the Truth through the [Holy] Spirit you have purified your hearts for the sincere affection of the brethren, [see that you] love one another fervently from a pure heart, 1 Peter 1:22.
Purification usually involves some sort of filtration process. Whether this is accomplished through cleansing, decontaminating or sterilizing the imperfections, purifying anything takes time. According to one of Jesus’ disciples, purifying your heart is based upon your degree of obedience to God’s commands. As the Holy Spirit convicts Christians for any wrongdoing, your heart begins the purification process.
So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery]. 9 [As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins], James 4:7-9.
Yet, to achieve sincere affection, Christians must seek the Theological Virtues of hope, faith, and love. According to C.S. Lewis, Cardinal Virtues are available to anyone, but Theological Virtues are only accessible through the power of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 13:13. Actions and faith must work hand and hand so that hearts will be purified as the fruits of this process develop into sincere affection.
by Jay Mankus