1 Peter 2:1-3 1So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, -- that by it you may grow up into salvation 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. (ESV)
A recent report from the Christian ministry Open Doors detailed that four Venezuelan Christians we attacked by masked men who used knives to cut crosses into their skin, beat them with stick, and foced them to eat pages of the Bible. The four Christian men were part of a drug rehabilitation program that is run by a pastor and his wife called Restoration House. It is believed the attackers opposed the work Pastor Dugarte is accomplishing through the program, leading them to lash out at the victims. According to Open Doors, Latin drug gangs are threatened by church programs like Dugarte’s Restoration House because of how people are delivered out of the criminal world. As an evangelical ministry, it has been their faith in Christ, through the word of God that has changed their lives and enabled their deliverance from drugs and growth in Christ. (https://churchleaders.com/news/391559-venezuelan-christians-forced-to-eat-pages-of-the-bible-and-branded-with-crosses.html?utm_source=cl-news-nl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=text-link&utm_campaign=cl-news-nl&maropost_id=724877189&mpweb=256-9305449-724877189)
When the Apostle Peter wrote to those in Modern day Turkey he was concerned that their new birth though faith in Jesus Christ would result in growth. A God implanted desire to stretch in love needed to be grounded and empowered by Truth. As Peter would leave them, the people of Asia Minor needed to be rooted in truth in order to grow. Two of its most important aspects are the development of spiritual maturity in individual converts and the development of the whole fellowship into a loving family. These two aspects come together in this part of the letter. (Marshall, I. H. (1991). 1 Peter (1 Pe 2:1). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.)
Healthy things grow but healthy growth only results from a healthy source. Without clean air, clean water and the proper amount of sunlight, a plan seed will not come to life nor grow. In a toxic atmosphere, without the light of the Son of God, people will remain in their sins. But when the light of truth shines, the goodness of God is tasted and found to be the only source of satisfaction, enabling life and healthy growth in Christ. The “Mighty Word of God” is the source of life and growth in Christ. The word of God, is both seed and milk, it initiates and sustains new life in Christ. (Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter (p. 134). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.)
In this, 1 Peter 2:1-3 shows us how believers should 1) Remember our Life Source (1 Peter 2:1a), 2) Eliminate our Sins (1 Peter 2:1b), 3) Admit our Need (1 Peter 2:2a), 4) Pursue Spiritual Growth (1 Peter 2:2b), and 5) Survey our Blessings (1 Peter 2:3).
As God changes believers, we are desiring “His Mighty Word” because in it we are:
1) Remembering our Life Source (1 Peter 2:1a)
1 Peter 2:1a So (put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander). (ESV)
So/Therefore refers back to 1 Peter 1:23–25 “since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; …. the word of the Lord remains forever." And this word is the good news that was preached to you”. (ESV). This is the same thought as Paul taught Timothy in 2 Tim. 3:15 “and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (ESV) (James 1:18; cf. John 20:31; Rom. 10:17). The Word, operating not as a perishable natural seed (cf. 1 Cor. 15:36–37) but as an imperishable divine seed (cf. Luke 8:11; 1 John 3:9), becomes the source of believers’ continued spiritual transformation and growth (Ps 119:105; John 15:3; 17:17; Rom. 15:4; Eph. 5:26; 2 Tim. 3:16–17; cf. Deut. 17:19–20; Josh. 1:8). This is a concise reminder to Peter’s readers to remember that saving power of God’s Word in their lives as a basis for ongoing commitment to Scripture as the only power to live the Christian life (cf. Matt. 4:4; Acts 20:32; Rom. 15:4; Gal. 3:3; 4:9; 2 Tim. 3:16–17).
Please turn to Isaiah 55
Scripture contains many other reminders and exhortations about its indispensability as the fountain of spiritual life and power (Pss. 19:10; 119:50, 93, 140; Prov. 6:23; 30:5; Matt. 7:24; Luke 11:28; Col. 3:16).
God declared through the prophet Isaiah:
Isaiah. 55:6-11. 6 “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (ESV) (cf. Heb. 4:12)
• Anywhere you seem to look today in “Christian” literature, the emphasis always seems to be on marketing and programs. The Church with the slickest presentation and the coolest programs seems to attract the most attention. Yet, “What you win them with, you win them to”. If we truly take God at His word, and He promised that His word shall not return to him empty, but accomplish what he purposes, then where should be trust? When we show that the word of God has changed us it gives us an opportunity to share it so it may change others.
Poem: The Bible! There It Stands!
James Gray wrote: “Where childhood need a standard, or youth a beacon light. Where sorrow sighs for comfort or weakness longs for might, bring froth the Holy Bible, The Bible! There it stands! Resolving all life’s problems and meeting its demands. Though sophistry conceal it The Bible! There it stands! Though Pharisees profane it, Its influence expands; It fills the world with fragrance Whose sweetness never cloys, It lifts our yes to heaven, It heightens human joys. Despised and torn in pieces, By infidels decried-The thunderbolts of hatred the haughty cynic’s pride- All these have railed against it. In this and other lands, Yet dynasties have fallen, and still the Bible stands! To paradise a highway, The Bible! There it stands! Its promises unfailing, Nor grievous its commands; It points (people) to the Saviour, The lover of (our) souls; Salvation is its watchword, Eternity its goal! (James M. Gray (1851-1935) https://www.wholesomewords.org/poetry/biblepoems/bible.html)
As God changes believers, we are “Desiring His Word” because it helps:
2) Eliminate their Sins (1 Peter 2:1b)
1 Peter 2:1b (So) put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. (ESV)
Striving to eliminate sins is prerequisite to sustaining the desire for God’s Word. Clinging to sins drives one in the opposite direction from the truth that exposes and confronts sin and demands righteousness. Peter here uses an imperative participle to command his readers to get rid of the sins in their lives. The verb rendered put away/aside (apothemenoi) applied to any kind of rejection, and sometimes referred especially to stripping off soiled garments, which is the analogy 1 Peter 2:1 therefore explains in more detail what is involved in loving one another ‘earnestly’: one must put away (give up, get rid of) attitudes and habits which are harmful to others.( Grudem, W. A. (1988). 1 Peter: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 17, p. 98). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.)
Please turn to Colossians 3
In ancient Christian baptism ceremonies, those being baptized customarily took off and discarded the clothes they wore to the ceremony. Following their baptisms, they put on new robes they received from the church. Exchanging clothes symbolized the salvation reality of laying aside the old life and taking up the new (Rom. 6:3–7; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:24). If such a transformation really occurred in someone’s life, one should be putting away/aside all (all used here three times to emphasize totality) sins that are a hindrance to fully desiring God’s Word (Heb. 12:1; cf. 2 Tim. 2:4). All the sins that Peter specifies aim at harming other people, whereas love seeks the good of others (Grudem, W. A. (1988). 1 Peter: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 17, p. 99). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.).
Paul had this in mind when he admonished the Colossians:
Colossians 3:1-10 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. (ESV) (cf. Eph. 4:22, 25; Heb. 12:1; James 1:21).
Back in 1 Peter 2:1, Paul mentions the things to put away. All malice is the first category of sin Peter lists. Malice (which in English has the idea of desiring to harm someone else) is an all-inclusive word (kakia) for sin referring to general wickedness and baseness. (Rom. 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:8; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Titus 3:3). It gives the picture of wanting to harm someone, “stab them in the back”. Genuine love requires ridding one’s life of all malice (the Gk. term kakia is broader, nearer to English ‘evil’ or ‘wickedness’, including not only ill intent but also any actions harmful to others)( Grudem, W. A. (1988). 1 Peter: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 17, p. 99). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.)
Second, believers are commanded to eliminate all deceit, a term (dolos) literally referring to “bait” or a “fishhook.” It denotes guile, dishonesty, falsehood, and treachery (2:22; 3:10; cf. Mark 7:22–23; John 1:47; Rom. 1:29). Believers are to be a people of the truth. If you put a trap before someone, hoping they fall into sin, then you yourself sin. To eliminate all deceit includes the command to eliminate all falsehood, craft, seduction, slander, and treachery… Deceit takes on the appearance of truth so that the unwary may be tricked. Therefore, deceit and hypocrisy are twins: by deceit a person is wronged and by hypocrisy he is deceived. (Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, p. 80). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.)
Third, Peter lists hypocrisy (hupokrisis), which originally identified an actor who wore a mask. It refers to spiritual insincerity and pretense (cf. Ezek. 33:31–32; Matt. 15:7–9; 23:23–24; Luke 18:11; 2 Cor. 5:12). The word describes any behavior that is not genuine or consistent with what one really believes or says they believe (Matt. 23:28; Mark 12:15; Luke 12:1; Rom. 12:9; Gal. 2:13; 1 Tim. 4:2; James 3:17). “Sincere love” (v. 22) is to be the goal of believers. Deceit and hypocrisy introduce pretense and disingenuousness so that the trust necessary for love vanishes (Schreiner, T. R. (2003). 1, 2 Peter, Jude (Vol. 37, p. 98). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
Fourth, envy (phthonos) defines the attitude of those who resent others’ prosperity (cf. Matt. 27:18; Rom. 1:29; Phil. 1:15; Titus 3:3). It often leads to grudges, bitterness, hatred, and conflict (cf. 1 Cor. 3:3; 1 Tim. 6:4; James 3:16). It is like you are looking out with binoculars, ignoring what is all around you and focusing only on what you don’t have. It may be a talent, opportunity or possession. It is a slap in the face to God. It implies that He made a mistake and you deserve something that you don’t have. You ignore the blessing that He has given you and don’t use what is provided for you to act with. Replace it with alertness to God’s blessings, contentment with your life, and joyful thanksgiving to a loving Father. (Jeske, M. A. (2002). James, Peter, John, Jude (p. 84). Milwaukee, WI: Northwestern Pub. House.)
Lastly, Peter mentions all slander (katalalias), an onomatopoeic word designed to sound like the whispers and tattles reported behind someone’s back in gossip and backbiting (2 Cor. 12:20). It referred essentially to defamation of character (cf. 2:12; 3:16; James 4:11). Slander enjoys running down, putting down, cutting down other people. Replace it with praise and encouragement for other people, finding joy in their successes. (Jeske, M. A. (2002). James, Peter, John, Jude (p. 84). Milwaukee, WI: Northwestern )
Peter’s list of specific sins is not exhaustive but certainly is representative of evil. In fact, the first term, all malice, could encompass all the sins so that his readers were called to repentance and confession. This clears the way for an unhindered desire for the truth of God. In this way Peter spells out what he means to love one another “earnestly” (1:22) and also shows that such poor attitudes and behavior are incompatible with craving the pure, spiritual milk (2:2) (Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter (p. 131). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.).
Poem: God’s Mighty Word stands in opposition to the tendency of sin. Expressed poetically: “I am ashamed; O Lord forgive. I am ashamed; O Lord forgive. I used to nurture bitterness, To count up every slight. The world’s a moral wilderness, And I have felt its blight. Self-pity ruled, resentment reigned, And no one understood my pain; I spiraled down in murky night, Insisting that I had the right To hate and hate again. I am ashamed; O Lord forgive. I am ashamed; O Lord forgive. But then the gospel taught me how To contemplate the cross. For there Christ died for me, and now I’ve glimpsed the bitter cost. He bore abuse and blows and hate, But he did not retaliate. Triumphant malice sneered and tossed Blind rage at him—he never lost The love that conquers hate. I am ashamed; O Lord forgive. I am ashamed; O Lord forgive. To make no threat, to smile, forgive, To love despite the cost— For Jesus showed me how to live And trust the One who’s just. To suffer wrong and feel the pain, While certain that the loss is gain. Oh God, I want so much to trust, To follow Jesus on the cross, To love and love again. (Carson, D. A. (2016). Holiness without Stuffiness. In D. A. Carson Sermon Library (1 Pe 1:13–2:3). Bellingham, WA: Faithlife.)
As God changes believers, we are desiring “His Mighty Word” because it helps:
3) Admit their Need (1 Peter 2:2a)
1 Peter 2:2a Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, -- (that by it you may grow up into salvation) (ESV)
As verse 1 talks about what to “put off”, verse 2 talks about what to “take up”, starting with desire. To “long for” (epipothesate) is an imperative verb that commands believers to strongly desire or crave something. It expresses an intense, recurring, insatiable desire or passion (cf. Pss. 42:1 and 119:174; James 4:5). Spiritual growth and maturity are not automatic in the Christian’s life (Utley, R. J. D. (2000). The Gospel according to Peter: Mark and I & II Peter (Vol. Volume 2, p. 225). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.)
• Perhaps you see yourself as being a Christian a long time and are comfortable with where you are and what you know. Your situation is like a muscle that has atrophied, through lack of use, it has stopped working. This is dangerous: If we have ceased to continue to desire to grow in knowledge and love, we are shut out from growth. In a broad perspective: Your longings show what you ultimately love. Who or what occupies your thoughts and longing? Are you thoughts always drifting to hobbies or work? Often we spend so much time thinking about and longing lesser things, that the things of God are crowded out.
Peter directs our thoughts and desires to the most satisfying object of craving with pure spiritual milk. Pure (adolos) means unadulterated or uncontaminated and often referred to farm products such as grain, wine, vegetable oil, or in this instance milk. Believers are to crave what is unmixed and pure, that provides real sustenance, namely, the pure milk of the word. The rabbis traditionally referred to God’s law as milk and Psalms 19:8–9 and 119:140 say God’s Word is pure and clean. Therefore, the translation pure milk of the word is a legitimate, fair option that describes the Word as the source of pure spiritual milk for believers. God’s Word is as essential to a Christian’s growth as milk is to an infant’s growth. For just a moment let’s look at the importance of a mother’s milk to her baby: A mother produces [milk that contains] antibodies to infectious agents that a newborn. Pure (adolos) …the spiritual milk in view here is free from all impurities. (If this ‘pure milk’ is the written word of God—as is argued below—then this adjective implies that Scripture is free from impurity or imperfection, that it will not deceive or lead astray its readers, and that it affirms no falsehood.) (Grudem, W. A. (1988). 1 Peter: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 17, p. 100). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.)
Please turn to Matthew 4
Peter focused on the more foundational element—which believers need before they will pursue any of the other things—a deep, continuous longing for the Word of truth (cf. 2 Thess. 2:10b). Whether believers are recent converts or more mature in the faith, craving the Word of God (cf. Neh. 8:1–3; Ps. 119:97, 103, 159, 167; Jer. 15:16; Acts 17:11) is always essential to spiritual nourishment and growth (Job 23:12). In view of postmodern culture’s relentless output of informational junk food through radio, television, films, the Internet, computer games, books, periodicals, and even so-called Christian pulpits—all of which causes spiritual malnourishment and dulls appetites for genuine spiritual food—believers must commit to regular nourishment from God’s Word. Peter’s readers are to crave the Lord by adopting attitudes and behaviors that will sustain the new life they have begun by faith in Christ (Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter (p. 140). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.)
Jesus knew that is what the Word of God that was the foundation for guidance and strength:
Matthew 4:1–4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” (ESV) (Matt. 4:4; cf. Deut. 8:3; Luke 4:4).
• While God clearly never tempts anyone to do evil (cf. James 1:13), He does use circumstances to test a person’s character (e.g., Heb. 11:17). Natural human desire, the world’s pull and Satan’s devices are to take the easy way out. Rely on your position, past acts or the acts of others to fulfill what God desires. Unless our desire to fulfill God’s plan is as central as our basic cravings, and the path to overcome temptation centered on God’s directives, then we will fall into temptation and be disqualified.
In the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., they keep there the clock that we set all the rest of our clocks by. This clock is in a near-perfect vacuum. It rests on pylons that go down deep into the earth to keep it from vibration. It is electrically wound every twenty-eight seconds. And it’s a very fine chronometer, but it still gets out of time. And they say it varies every six months about one fifty-thousandth of a second. And so they have to reset this clock so we can set the rest of our clocks by it. And you know what they do? They have a telescope. And they put that telescope out to a fixed star. And in that telescope are some cross bars, not made of human hair, because that’s too wide; made of a spider’s web. And at a fixed moment, that star comes across those crosshairs, and at that moment they set their clock by God’s clock. Even with such a sophisticated clock, it needs a source outside itself for a fixed point of reference. Not only do our clocks run down, but even this universe is running down. And one day even those stars will splinter and fade. But Jesus said, “18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished..” (Matthew 5:18). Without a fixed point of refence outside ourselves, the word of God, we have no time for anyone, we lose track of time, and time passes us by. (Rogers, A. (2017). Timeless Truth for Tough Times. In Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (1 Pe 1:22–2:2). Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust.)
As God changes believers, we are desiring “His Mighty Word” because it helps us to:
4) Pursue Spiritual Growth (1 Peter 2:2b)
1 Peter 2:2b (Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk,) -- that by it you may grow up into salvation (ESV)
It is always sad to see a human being who is malnourished, weak, and underdeveloped. But far sadder is seeing believers who are spiritually malnourished and underdeveloped. All believers should be motivated by the opportunity to grow strong and mature in Christ, enjoying greater blessing and usefulness. Peter here is talking about growth that a believer “may grow” (auxethete) using a passive verb, literally meaning “it may grow you.” God is concerned that we no longer be spiritual babes or children tossed about with every wind of doctrine. Instead, that we may grow up in all things into Him who is the Head—Christ. And that we grow to become more and more like Him, measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13–16). That is what Peter is addressing. He wants us to “grow up” spiritually. The verb which Peter uses for grow is auxáno which he also uses in his second letter when he concludes, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). It is interesting to note that it was this verb which John the Baptist used when he said,(referring to Christ) “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). (Cedar, P. A., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1984). James / 1 & 2 Peter / Jude (Vol. 34, p. 135). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.)
• It is by the intake of the truth that the Holy Spirit grows and matures believers (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18).
Please turn to Philippians 2
The growth is to be “up into/in respect to salvation which is the obvious objective of believers’ spiritual growth. The Word will grow believers into the full, final expression of the sanctification aspect of their salvation. Last week we saw how being born again is monergistic; it is a work solely of the Holy Spirit. Sinners do not cooperate in their spiritual births (cf. Eph. 2:1–10) any more than infants cooperate in their natural births (John 3:8; cf. John 1:12–13; Eph. 2:4–5; Phil. 2:13). Yet for the work of sanctification, to “grow up into/in respect to salvation”, it very much requires effort and focus from believers. Once we see our need for God’s Word and begin to find nourishment in Christ, our spiritual appetite will increase, and we will start to mature. (Barton, B. B. (1995). 1 Peter, 2 Peter, Jude (p. 51). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Pub.)
Look at the two parties that act in Sanctification:
Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (ESV)
Now over to Philippians 3
Peter’s exhortation for believers to grow through the Word strongly implies the necessity of discontent with the present condition of spiritual development. It also recalls what Paul said about his dissatisfaction with the status quo in his life:
Philippians 3:7-14 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
• Salvation changes our perspective. The ultimate aim of our lives under Christ has now changed. We also see ourselves differently. We no longer see ourselves as basically good people, but our righteousness is due to Christ. We are in Christ because of His power, and with the Holy Spirit within us we are driven to be more like Christ. Being in Christ means having a clear goal (v.14). The prize for our faithfulness now is the fullness of blessings and rewards in the age to come, most especially being in perfect fellowship with Christ forever. (Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2286). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.)
• Motivation for genuine spiritual growth arises out of a righteous sense of discontent, coupled with a sincere desire to be satisfied with nothing but the Word of God.
Poem: The experience of Biblical truth should cause us to long for more. Not simply more of its language but more of the Lord whom we will meet in the pages of God’s Word. “O send thy Spirit, Lord, Now unto me, That He may touch my eyes, And make me see. Show me the truth concealed Within Thy Word, And in Thy book revealed I see the Lord”. So the milk of the word is not to be sought for its own sake, but because through it we shall come to know more of God himself. Our faith will be increased and this will bring the subsequent growth which delights the heart of God. (Cleave, D. (1999). 1 Peter (pp. 54–55). Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications.)
Finally, as God changes believers, we are desiring “His Mighty Word” because it helps us to:
5) Survey our Blessings (1 Peter 2:3)
1 Peter 2:3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. (ESV)
Peter’s fifth and final perspective or motivation for desiring the Word of God echoes the psalmist’s words: Ps. 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”. There is a condition introduced in 1 Peter 2:3 for this delight. The condition is introduced with the preposition: “If”, which is a first-class conditional participle introducing the facts or conditions necessary for a proposition to be true. Since Peter’s readers had tasted or experienced the kindness—goodness and grace—of the Lord in their conversion, they already know how blessed and wonderful it is. Therefore, they should have desired more of that goodness through feeding on His Word. Believers ought to regularly survey the blessings of their salvation, remembering the many times God has answered their prayers (cf. Pss. 40:1; 116:1; 138:3; Jer. 33:3; Matt. 7:7; John 15:7; 1 John 5:14–15), and all the times He has touched their lives with His kindness and mercy (cf. Pss. 17:7; 26:3; 36:7; 103:11; 106:1; 117:2; 118:29; 138:2; Lam. 3:22–23; Luke 1:50; Gal. 6:16; Eph. 2:4). The more we taste God’s goodness, the more tasteless other worldly options will become. We must not fill our lives with cheap substitutes so that we lose our craving for the truth contained in God’s Word. (Barton, B. B. (1995). 1 Peter, 2 Peter, Jude (p. 52). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Pub.)
The ability to grow depends on our seeking of delight in God Himself. That is why the Lord is described here as being good which can also be translated “kind” and serves as a synonym of “gracious.” Peter wants to say that when the believer reads the Bible, though it we personally meet God in Jesus Christ, who grants us numerous blessings. The child of God, then, joyfully exclaims that the Lord is good and kind. (Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, p. 82). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.)
Please turn to Psalm 119
Peter’s simple analogy comparing a newborn baby craving for its mother’s milk with a believer of any maturity level passionately longing for the Word of God concludes the apostle’s series of exhortations that began at 1 Peter1:13. First, as a result of their salvation, Christians are to respond to God by pursuing holiness (1:13–21). Second, believers must respond to others in the church by loving them as brothers and sisters in Christ (1:22–25). Finally, believers must respond to their essential need for the Word by continually desiring it (2:1–3). With the psalmist all should affirm:
Psalm 119:137–144. 137 Righteous are you, O LORD, and right are your rules. 138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness. 139 My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. 140 Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it. 141 I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts. 142 Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. 143 Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight. 144 Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live. (ESV)
• The world has forgotten and despised the way of righteousness from the lord. Those who seek the lord and endeavor to live out His ways will be despised and rejected as our lord was. Yet, His word and His promises are true. He will vindicate the righteous, and a delight in His ways will sustain even through difficulties. Yet this delight does not naturally come. The faithful Saint of God must cast off the ways and fear of this word, and actively seek understanding of His Mighty Word. In it is righteousness and peace.
(Format Note: Outline & some base commentary from MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 101–102). Chicago: Moody Publishers.).