I Peter 2:1-3

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

THE SINCERE MILK OF THE WORD

INTRODUCTION:

 

Indeed, we have a wonderful salvation! To think that God would love us and send His only begotten son to die on the cross in order to procure our redemption absolutely amazes us. We, who deserve to spend eternity in hell, have been declared righteous in God’s sight.

 

I am reminded of II Corinthians 5:15 ,

 

II Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

 

But how do I go about doing this? How do I go about living a life that is pleasing to God? The answer is clear, and it is found in spiritual growth.

 

Something we as believers should all want to do is to grow in the Lord. In a practical way, however, how do we go about doing it? In I Peter 2:1-3 , we see Peter’s formula for Christian growth; and if we have not already done so, each of us should adopt it as our own.

 

Verses 1-3 form a conditional statement in the Greek text. The conclusion of the conditional statement is found in verses 1-2; whereas, the condition itself is found in verse 3.

 

The condition is, If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious; and the conclusion is, Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

 

Ordinarily, the condition appears before the conclusion. However, when the speaker or writer wishes to emphasize the conclusion, he places it before the condition. For example, we could say, “If you expect to eat supper, be here on time.” But if we wish to emphasize the conclusion, we could say, “Be here on time if you expect to eat supper.”

 

Inasmuch as the condition appears in verse 3, I am going to do something I don’t usually do with the text. I will deal first with verse 3 and then deal with verses 1-2.

In verse 3 we see –

    I.     THE REASON FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH – I Peter 2:3

 

I Peter 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

 

In verse 3 Peter states the reason for growth. It is that the believers have tasted that the Lord is gracious, and it is stated in the form of a condition. As I have already stated, the conclusion of this condition is found in verses 1 and 2. The thought expressed in verse 3 must be understood as occurring before the thoughts expressed in verses 1-2. They had already tasted that the Lord is gracious in that they had been saved. Now they must live and act accordingly.

 

The word translated if so be assumes that a condition has already been fulfilled, that it has already happened. It is understood in the sense of since, if indeed, or if after all.

 

Ye have tasted literally means you have tasted, you have partaken of, or you have enjoyed. When used figuratively as it is in this verse, it means you have come to know. Its tense indicates an action completed as a whole in the past.

 

What they had come to know is that the Lord is gracious.

 

The Lord is ordinarily used to designate the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament. These believers had already tasted that the Lord Jesus Christ was loving and kind as gracious implies.

 

Gracious is a term which literally means better or excellent. It is often used in the sense of useful, suitable, worthy, or good. When used of persons as it is in this verse, it suggests kind, loving, or benevolent.

 

Verse 3 means, since you have come to know that the Lord is kind, if indeed you have come to know that the Lord is loving, or if after all you have come to know that the Lord is benevolent.

Next, in verse 1 we see –

  II.     THE PREREQUISITE FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH – I Peter 2:1

 

I Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings.

 

Because they had already come to know that the Lord is gracious, kind, loving, or benevolent, they should lay aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speakings; and they should desire the pure milk of the Word which will produce spiritual growth.

 

The implication of verse 1 is that sins such as malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies, and evil speakings will hinder spiritual growth.

 

As I have already said, verses 1-2 form the conclusion of a condition which is not stated until verse 3.

 

If we would grow spiritually, we must rid ourselves of everything which will hinder spiritual growth.

 

Wherefore introduces an inference Peter draws from what he has written regarding the Word of God at the end of chapter 1 and is understood in the sense of therefore, consequently, accordingly, or then.

 

Laying aside literally means putting off or taking off clothes. When used figuratively as it is in this verse, it means rid yourselves of or lay aside. It has the force of a command, and its tense indicates that its action is to be done once and for all time. It suggests that a decisive action must be taken.

 

Laying aside further indicates that the believer is to separate himself from the activities which are mentioned in the rest of this verse. In the same way believers must once and for all time put away whatever sins were characteristic of their lives prior to their salvation and no longer be living lives characterized by sin. Instead, they must be living their lives for the Lord Jesus Christ in accordance with the teachings of the Bible.

 

What believers are to lay aside is all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings.

 

The believer is to rid himself of all malice –

            1.   All malice is all ill will, all malignity, or all viciousness.

 

The same word translated malice in I Peter 2:2 is translated naughtiness in James 1:21 .

 

James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity [i.e. surplus, abundance, or excess] of naughtiness [i.e. malice, ill will, malignity, or viciousness], and receive with meekness [i.e. receive with humility] the engrafted [i.e. implanted] word, which is able to save your souls.

 

The engrafted word is able to save an unbeliever from his sins and also to give the believer victory over sin. Inasmuch as James is writing to saved Jews of the Dispersion, James’ primary meaning in this verse is that the engrafted word will give believers victory over sin in their Christian lives.

 

The engrafted word includes, but is not limited to, the gospel message which has been implanted in their thinking. Its reference is to the Scriptures, which are not only described in James 1:21 as the engrafted word, but also in James 1:18 as the word of truth, in James 1:23 as a glass (or mirror) into which a believer looks while comparing his own life with what God expects of him, in James 1:25 as the perfect law of liberty, in James 2:8 as teaching the royal law, and in James 2:12 as the law of liberty, which produces true freedom.

 

The same word translated malice in I Peter 2:2 is also found in Ephesians 4:21-32 .

 

Ephesians 4:31-32 – (31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour [i.e. harsh words], and evil speaking [i.e. slander], be put away from you, with all malice: (32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

 

Back to I Peter 2:2

All, when used to modify or describe malice, suggests that every act of malice should be put away so that there is no malice left.

 

The believer is also to rid himself of all guile –

            2.   All guile is literally all catching with bait; hence, in this context, it is all deceit, all cunning, or all treachery. The fact that believers are to put away all guile or every guile indicates that there should be no guile left in his life. Therefore, he should never act in a deceitful or crafty manner.

 

In addition, the believer is to rid himself of all hypocrisies –

            3.   All hypocrisies is all pretenses or all outward shows. They are false acts or acts of impersonation. In other words, there is no way he should ever pretend to be something he is not. He ought to be genuine and godly in his genuineness.

 

Furthermore, the believer is to rid himself of all envies –

            4.   All envies is all jealousies.

 

Moreover, the believer is to rid himself of all evil speakings –

            5.   All evil speakings is all slanders, all defamations, all speakings against others, all detractions, or all evil speeches. If Satan can get the believers slandering one another, thereby fighting among themselves, he can keep them defeated and spiritually immature. Consequently, Peter has urged believers to put away all evil speakings. As a result there should be no evil speakings left in their lives.

 

If believers intend to grow spiritually, they need to put away all sins decisively, once and for all time, as if they were taking off dirty clothing.

Finally, in verse 2 we see –

 III.     THE MEANS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH – I Peter 2:2

 

I Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

 

As newborn babes compares believers with newborn or young babies or infants. In the same way that young babies desire the milk of the mother, so believers ought to desire the milk of the Word of God in order that they might grow.

 

As means in the same way that.

 

Newborn babes are new, recently-born babies or recently-born infants.

 

Desire the sincere milk of the word suggests long for the sincere milk of the word. It is a command rather than a suggestion, and its tense indicates that its action is viewed as a whole. It further implies that it has not yet begun. It is to be done once and for all time.

 

Sincere is genuine, without deceit, unadulterated, or pure.

 

Milk suggests food appropriate for babies.

 

Of the word is rational or spiritual. It is the same term translated reasonable in Romans 12:1 . The spiritual milk we are to desire is found in the Word of God.

 

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service [i.e. your rational worship].

 

That ye may grow may indicate purpose or intended result.

 

If showing purpose, that is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that. If showing intended result, it is understood in the sense of so that or with the result that.

 

Ye may grow is you may increase.

 

Thereby is by means of it, i.e. by means of the pure, spiritual milk of the Word of God. The clear implication of this is that there is no growth apart from the application of the Word of God to the believer’s life.

 

Desire for the Word of God is not enough, however, to produce spiritual growth. Similarly, a baby’s desire for his mother’s milk does not produce growth. Growth does not occur unless this desire is acted upon. Growth comes as a result of the mother’s feeding her baby or as a result of the believer’s feeding on the Scriptures.

 

Similar statements regarding growth based upon the study of the Word of God are found elsewhere in Scripture.

 

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

 

Psalms 1:1-3 – (1) Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (2) But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (3) And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

 

Romans 12:1-2 – (1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

II Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

 

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

 

II Timothy 3:15-17 – (15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

CONCLUSION:

 

Our souls have been forever purified by believing the gospel message. Let’s live for the Lord, and let’s be growing in the Lord.

 

We have seen that the reason for spiritual growth is that we have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Have you personally tasted that the Lord is gracious? Are you genuinely saved?

 

We have seen that, as a prerequisite for spiritual growth, certain things such as malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies, and evil speakings, must be laid aside. Have you laid these things aside?

 

We have also seen that the way we are going to experience spiritual growth in our own lives is by diligently studying the Word of God and submitting our hearts and minds to it. Will you purpose in your heart that you will give yourself diligently to Bible Study or that you will continue to give yourself diligently to Bible study? You will be blessed if you do.