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Peter has gone to great lengths to remind his readers of their salvation, of their position in Christ. He has He has reminded them who Christ is and what He has done, and what He continued to do. He instructed them not to pattern themselves after their former lusts. Their behavior should be holy, even in trials and persecutions. He has told them all of that so he can tell them their responsibilities and give them some specific instructions.
Take a good look at 1 Peter 2:1-10 for context, but we’re going to focus on the first three verses.
We need to make a conscious decision. “Therefore, putting aside” the following behaviors. Because of everything Peter has mentioned up to this point. Put aside gives the idea of taking off clothes and laying them to the side. Casting them off. Malice – evil, a desire to injure without excuse. Deceit – the practice of deception or the characteristic of being crafty. This usually involves the use of trickery to get money from someone. Hypocrisy – pretending to be what we are not; assuming a false appearance of religion; cloaking a wicked purpose under the appearance of piety. Remember Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites. They acted or pretended to be one way, but were not who they pretended to be. Envy – a feeling of grudging admiration and desire to have something that is possessed by another. Slander – evil speaking. This word always involves the spoken word. These sins tear at the very core of the church; that destroy the love that we are to demonstrate to one another.
Proverbs 6:16-19 reminds us that, “There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” Ephesians 4:31 says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” Peter says to put aside these sins. But don’t think it’s a onetime thing and you’re good to go. This is a daily battle, a daily decision.
Not only do we need to make a conscious decision, but we need to have a proper diet. “Like newborn babies.” I believe Peter is making an allusion to the fact that newborn babies do not have any of the qualities he’s telling us to lay aside. Babies don’t develop those qualities until they get older. “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” Babies are singular in purpose. All they want to do is eat. It is their strongest desire. Just as babies have a desire to be fed when they are hungry, new Christians are to have a desire for the word. The pure word. Pure in this context means guileless or unmixed. Without falsehood. Babies must have a diet suitable for their digestive system. They wouldn’t eat meat if you gave it to them. Christians are the same way. New Christians need to be fed the simple truths of God’s word. Babies are fed to sustain and nourish them. The idea here is that Christians need a diet specifically formulated for their growth. When given the proper diet, babies will grow. The same is true with Christians. If he is not fed properly, he will be malnourished. This malnourishment can take many forms. It can manifest itself in a lack of doctrinal purity. It can be seen in the way people live. Christians convinced that there are no absolutes. An inability to shake a secular world view. An inability to demonstrate the love of God or exhibit any amount of self-control. It is imperative that new Christians be fed properly. I guarantee that when you read and study your Bible every day and apply the truths learned, spiritual growth will occur.
Ps. 19:7-9 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.” The psalmist calls the Word by six titles. He calls it the law of the Lord, the testimony of the Lord, the precepts of the Lord, the commandment of the Lord, the fear of the Lord referring to worship, and the judgments of the Lord. You can look at Scripture as God’s law, as His testimony of Himself, as precepts for living, as commandments to be obeyed, as instruction on worship, or as verdicts from a holy court, but it’s all His Word. And the character of His Word? It is perfect, it is sure, it is right, it is pure, it is clean, it is true. And what does the Word do for you? It will restore your soul, it will make you wise, it will rejoice your heart, it will enlighten your eyes, it will endure forever, that means it will be relevant in every age and it will produce comprehensive righteousness. That’s the sufficiency of the Word of God. That’s what it will do in your life as you feed on it. And that’s why the Psalmist said, Ps. 42:1, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.”
The purpose of a proper diet is to grow. Peter is talking about growing “in respect to salvation.” How does this growth take place? When you come to the Word of the Lord, you meet the Lord of the Word. You cannot get into the Word without getting into the Lord. You can’t separate the Word from the Lord. This is what the Pharisees did. They talked about and commanded people to follow the Law, but they missed the lawgiver. They missed the forest because all they saw were the trees. You cannot be obedient to the Lord and reject His word. For Peter, the Word of God was living, it endures forever, and this was the Word that was preached to you. The word “grow” in verse 2 is in the passive voice. That means that something beside the individual causes the growth. We grow because we drink from the Word of God. 1 Cor. 3:5-7 says, “What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”
We need to make a conscious decision, we need a proper diet, and finally, we need to develop a hunger. Verse 3 says, “if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” A better translation is, “Since you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” The idea is once you get a taste of the kindness of the Lord, you’ll want more. You’ll develop a hunger that must be satisfied. The only thing that will bring satisfaction is the Lord. One taste will bring a desire for more.
Peter tells us to long for or desire the milk of the Word, the nutrition of the Word of God. Make a conscious decision, have a proper diet, and develop a hunger. When we do these things, growth will occur because it is the Lord that causes the growth, but we need to do our part. We need to get in the Word and stay in the Word and live the truths that are contained in the Word.