When Peter reminds his readers (in 1st Peter 1:24-25) of the temporary nature of their life in this world and the permanence of God’s word, he is not merely setting forth a doctrinal statement concerning the Scriptures. Rather, he applies the text, interestingly, to encourage these believers to love one another.

The text of 1st Peter 1:24-25 reads:

…for “All flesh is like grass

and all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers,

and the flower falls,

but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you. (ESV)

One of the reasons that Christians are to demonstrate such a great love for one another is the reality of their current situation. Christians find themselves with something in common—something which matters more than anything else—they have an eternal identity in Jesus Christ.

For Peter’s audience, this truth would have served as an encouragement to persevere in circumstances which may have been difficult (“grieved by various trials” in 1:6.) Knowing the certainty of the gospel which was preached to them, they were called to a unity in purpose above all else. Peter’s audience would have also recognized the words as a quote from Isaiah 40—an address to Israelite exiles several hundred years earlier. The meaning would not have been lost on Peter’s Christian exile audience.

Such an exhortation seemingly falls flat for many Christians in the present age where it seems that we have rewritten the words of Isaiah to fit ourselves. We too often live our daily lives as if “All flesh remains forever” and “the word of the Lord may interfere with our pursuit of this life.” Subsequently, our relationships as believers with one another are strangely shallow because we find so little meaning in the faith we have in common and perceive so little urgency for these days in which we live.