1 Peter 2:1-3
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
In chapters two through four, Peter addresses the suffering of believers and the suffering of Christ. We will see from this chapter that suffering produces separation. Beginning in chapter two, Peter begins to write about how we can pursue holiness (separation).
It is important to note that when we speak of separation or holiness, there is a danger of embracing two extreme viewpoints. The first viewpoint sees human nature as basically good and that is just needs some self-adjustment from time to time. The second viewpoint acknowledges that when a person is saved, they receive the Holy Spirit and now all they have to do it sit back and let God accomplish His work in their lives.
Now it is true that we receive the Spirit of God when we trust Christ as our Savior. It is also true that we are sanctified (set apart) by God at that moment of salvation. But it is also true that we must sanctify (set apart) ourselves for God. We must cooperate with God in the sanctification process. In this chapter, Peter will explain our part in this process.
In the opening verses of this chapter, we see that we cannot expect God to do everything for us. Peter writes to let all believers know that there are certain things we must rid ourselves of. Some translations say, “put away” or “lay aside”. Peter is getting ready to outline some harmful attitudes and habits that will hinder the sanctification process.
So, what are these harmful attitudes and habits? The first one is malice. In his commentary on 1 Peter, J.V. McGee defines malice this way: “congealed anger, having an unforgiving spirit”. As believers, we must work hard to forgive others “just as in Christ God has forgiven us.” We may need to ask God for help in this area. Forgiveness is a process. The three steps of forgiveness are: REVEAL your hurt, RELEASE your offender and REFOCUS your life. We cannot pursue holiness with an unforgiving spirit.
The second attitude is deceit. In his commentary on 1 Peter, Wayne Grudem writes, “Guile is deceitfulness that harms others through trickery or falsehood.” A good example of this might be trying to make a good impression on someone with an ulterior motive. This is dishonesty with bad motives. We cannot pursue holiness and be deceitful at the same time.
The next attitude is hypocrisy. Bob has often described hypocrisy as wearing a mask. Grudem defines hypocrisy as “the masking of inward evil by an outward show of righteousness”. Simply put, hypocrisy is attempting to be what you are not. We cannot pursue intimacy with God while wearing a mask.
Next is the attitude of envy. Envy is an attitude of discontentment. It is wanting something that someone else has. It is not being content with God’s presence and desiring the pleasures of the world more than the pleasure of knowing God. We cannot pursue God when we are being ruled by the passions of our old nature.
Lastly, Peter mentions slander. Slander is any speech which harms or is intended to harm another person’s reputation. Paul refers to this as “unwholesome talk”. We cannot pursue God and practice slander at the same time. All of these attitudes and habits aim at harming other people, while love seeks the good of others. All of these things are contrary to the sincere love mentioned in 1:22.
So how do we rid ourselves of these sinful attitudes and habits? “Crave pure spiritual milk.” The verb here suggests an “intense personal desire of longing for God”. Just as a hungry baby reaches for the bottle, a believer is to desire the Word of God. How do we develop this hunger for God’s Word? We must spend significant time in His Word discovering who He is. Without a huger for the Word of God, we cannot grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ. We must cooperate with God in the sanctification process by making sure we get the daily spiritual nutrition we need in the Word of God. There is no growth apart from the Word of God!
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Are you doing your part in cooperating with God in the sanctification process? Do you still struggle with any of the attitudes and habits that Peter mentions in 2:1? How do these attitudes and habits differ from the sincere love that Peter writes about in 1:22? Are you getting your daily spiritual nutrients from God’s Word? What can you do to move from spiritual milk to spiritual porterhouse steak?
- Praise God as the Revealer of Truth, Helper, Constant Companion and Friend.
- Thank Him that as You draw near to Him, He will draw near to you.
- Tell God you are sorry for having any of the attitudes/habits that Pastor Dave talked about above.
- Ask Him to draw you close to His heart and Word. Pray to know Him better.
Abba, Father, shepherd us and lead us into Your Word daily. Help us to understand it, remember it and live it out. Help us to be like a tree that is planted by streams of living water. Cause our roots to go down deep in You. Give us a holy hunger and cause Your Word to run swiftly in and through us. Thank You Lord for Pastor Bob, for his passion to study and teach Your Word. Bob is frequently encouraging us to soak in Your Word so that Your Spirit can use Your Word to transform us. I pray we will say “yes” afresh and draw nourishment from Your Word. We want to know You better Lord. In the Name of Jesus Christ I ask, amen.