Summary: Birth must be followed by nurture. Just as a natural baby requires milk in order to be nourished & to grow, so must a spiritual baby have the milk of God¡¯s Word in order to be nourished and to grow up in Christ.
1 PETER 2: 1-3 [Renewing Hope Series]
DESIRING ETERNAL GROWTH
God's imperishable Word stands forever. This imperishable Word was the content of Peter's preaching (1:12, 25). He preached the Word for God's Word has life. He preached the Word for God's Word gives life. He preached the Word for God's Word nourishes life. Thus the Christian's life should be a spiritually growing life. But in order to grow in eternal ways we need eternal nourishment. Just as we were all conceived by the eternal Word of God, as newborn babes, we're to continue in the Word of God. Lived out truth produces growth (CIT).
Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "Most people are bothered by those passages in the Bible which they cannot understand; but as for me, I always notice that the passages in the Scripture which trouble me the most are those which I do understand." His statement is a commentary of this passage. The question is, what are we going to do about it? [Cedar, Paul. The Preacher's Commentary Series, Vol. 34 : James / 1 & 2 Peter / Jude. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1984, S. 133.]
Birth must be followed by nurture. And just as a natural baby requires milk in order to be nourished and to grow, so must a spiritual baby have the milk of God's Word in order to be nourished and to grow up in Christ. That is a contention which Peter makes so directly and plainly that none of us can miss it! [Ibid. 133]
God therefore invites us to take four specific steps.
I. LAY ASIDE EVIL, 1.
II. LONG FOR THE WORD, 2.
III. GROW UP SPIRITUALLY, 2b.
IV. LIVE THE LIFE, 3.
Verse 1 speaks to the believers need to repent from our fallen human condition in order to experience the life-changing power of God's Word. "Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,"
New life in Christ calls for continuous repentance. "Therefore, rid yourselves." The verb used [is apot¨ªth¨¥mi which] means "to get rid of, to cast it off, to discard." How we rid of sin is by repentance. True repentance must always begin with putting off evil and turning from it.
The writer of Hebrews encourages us to "lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1). To repent means we turn and keep turning from every form of sin.
Do you realize how many of our problems would be resolved if we took that counsel seriously? If we would only flee from sin, our lives would be so much more full and blessed. Sin deprives us of God's best, and yet often we play games with sin. We brush as close as we can without being burned. But sin is never without consequence. What we sow, we reap. "For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption" (Gal. 6:8).
Peter listed five sins that destroy the Christians and the churches growth and effectiveness. They are sins of attitude and speech, which if harbored drive wedges between believers.
The kinds of sin which we all should lay aside or cast off begins with "malice" (kak¨ªa), a general word for depravity and wickedness. It's wicked ill-will. Malice is a desire to hurt someone with words or deeds.