1 Peter 2:1-3, “So 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.”
The epistle of 1 Peter is written to people who are facing a tremendous amount of persecution and suffering. They need encouragement and help to grow in their walk with the Lord. So, to that end, Peter writes to instruct them on a variety of topics related to government, apologetics, purity, and much more. Peter has already talked in the first chapter about what purity looks like in the Christian life in light of the hope they and all Christians have because of Christ.
When you see the word “so” in the New Testament you can replace it with, therefore; it means the same thing. “So” is a transition phrase used in the New Testament to help readers make connections between what was said in the previous chapter and what the author is about to say. 1 Peter 1 is about the holiness of God and how Christians can live in light of it because of the grace of God they’ve received. Now Peter tells his readers clearly in 1 Peter 2:1-3, “So 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.”
As true Christians, you and I can put away malice, deceit, and hypocrisy because we’ve been made new through the new birth. Peter connects what he has already said about holiness in the Christian life—that is living in light of our new identity in Christ to our daily moral and ethical behavior as Christians. Holiness matters in the Christian life because it’s an issue of our witness. We say we believe in Christ, and that’s great, but now we are to demonstrate the reality of our faith we say we believe before a watching world.
Peter’s words about putting away malice, deceit, and envy pertain not only to what comes out of our mouth but also to the results of our words. For example, when I talk bad about someone behind their back, I’m engaging in slander and gossip. When I lie to my wife or someone else to get them to think I’m engaging in one behavior when I’m actually doing the other, I’m deceiving myself and them by sinning through hypocrisy. During such moments, I’m saying I’m living one way when in fact I’m living the opposite. Peter says here in 1 Peter 2:1 that we are to put away malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander, and in verses 2-3, “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.”
What We Hunger After Reveals Where We Are Being Satisfied
What do you hunger for? Is it more of the Word of God or is for more of what you already have? What we hunger after reveals where we are being satisfied. Let’s say, I’m hungry for nachos, which at the moment of writing this article is true, so I may go pick up some nachos at a Mexican restaurant. Peter here talks in verse 2 about “longing for pure spiritual milk that by it you may grow up into salvation” which is infinitely greater than being hungry for nachos. What Peter wants us to understand in light of our new identity in Christ, we are to do something and hunger for more of the Word. It is not legalism or something to check off to tell you must do something as a Christian. Instead, Peter’s call here is to “grow up into salvation” that is into who we are already are through Christ since “you have tasted that the Lord is good” (verse 3). Peter’s call is a call grounded in the grace of God which is to fuel our affections and lead to our growth in obedience to the Word of God.
Examine Yourselves to See Where You Are Truly Being Satisfied
Have you tasted of the goodness of the Lord? Where are you ultimately finding satisfaction in your life is it in the stuff of life or is in the Lord? It’s easy to answer the Lord as Christians immediately to such a question, but I want you to honestly examine your life today in light of your new identity in Christ. Perhaps today if you are honest you are stagnant or even apathetic towards the spiritual disciplines, and that discourages you and also leads you to question your salvation. Maybe you are also going through a season of life where life seems to be beating you down.
As Christians, we don’t believe we merit salvation through any good works of our own. That means we don’t have rituals whereby we store up more righteousness before God on account of anything we do. Instead, we believe as the Bible teaches that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Christ has wholly poured out the whole of His righteousness on the cross, and now through Him, we have had our account entirely credited by His righteousness. To put it another way, we are entirely His, and He is utterly ours. All that means, is now instead of condemnation and shame, the grace of God continually superabounds towards God’s people. And this is one reason, we need to consider what we are longing after—whether it is indeed more of the Word and growth in grace or if we aren’t daily living in light of our new identity in Christ.
Today let me ask you an honest question plainly, “Are you walking through the motions of life?” Life can seem to beat all of us down time after time. The same sins can seem to keep me and you down time and time again, resulting in little victory. In his classic book, Holiness J.C. Ryle says that if we see even the tiniest sliver of growth in grace in our lives, it is God’s work in us through the Holy Spirit. It’s not the significant victories in our lives that matter, instead, it’s the tiniest sliver of growth in grace our lives that matters. And that starts with what Peter says, “like newborn infants long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2), if indeed “you have tasted that the Lord is good” (verse 3).
The Christian and the Goodness of God in Christ
The true Christian has tasted of the goodness of God in Christ. They know they are fully loved and fully accepted by God and yet, sometimes perhaps even most of the time you and I forget about our new identity in Christ. Peter writes to remind, encourage, and instruct us on how we are to behave here in light of our new identity in Christ. We are to long or hunger for more of the Word of God in our lives because life never stops coming at us at us a million miles an hour. And since that is true, sin is ever crouching at the door to take away our hunger for more of God and to be truly satisfied in Him.
Satan wants to destroy our love for God, and yet, the Lord will never let us go—indeed, He who has adopted, justified, and given us a new heart and a new identity will ever keep us because of our union with Christ. Or as John Piper says, we would not remain a Christian one nanosecond without the persevering grace of God. Today, if you are apathetic or indifferent about your sin, may you return to the fount of the grace of God in Christ and begin anew to be satisfied in the fertile soil of God’s Word. After all, as a Christian, you are entirely loved by your Lord Jesus who bled, died, and rose for you. Won’t you please stop drinking from the putrid water of the world and instead begin to drink from the living water of Christ? He is indeed all you need and is the only one who can satisfy the hunger and craving you so desire.
Wherever you are at today, whether you are struggling with malice, envy, deceit, or hypocrisy, our Lord knows you through and through. Won’t you stop feasting before the wrong trough and start drinking deeply and wholly from the Word of God? The Word of God is the bread of life and water for our souls. Through the Holy Spirit, God uses the Word to point us to the finished of Jesus. The Lord indeed knows what we genuinely need. Where our hunger is being satisfied reveals where our longing is and thus where our affections are presently aimed. May you and I long as Peter says for pure spiritual milk, and indeed grow up into salvation purchased at the high cost of the blood of Christ since we have tasted of the Lord’s goodness and long as true Christians to daily and wholly delight in our Beloved Lord Jesus.