This passage breathes with its confidence in the purposive and empowering character of God's gifts. In what is likely both an allusion to the word of God experienced in the word made flesh in Jesus Christ as well as an explicit reference to the word of God in creation, the author speaks of the power of God's word to bring about God's longed-for righteousness. The language of "birthing," "implanting," and "first fruits of creation" describes believers who are empowered to act and persevere as not only hearers but doers of that word, that perfect law of liberty summarized in the call to love the neighbor as the self.
18In fulfilment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
19 You must understand this, my beloved:* let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20for your anger does not produce Gods righteousness. 21Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves* in a mirror; 24for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who actthey will be blessed in their doing.
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org
10 February 2011