Pastor Babij preaches from 1 Peter 1:23-2:3 that Christians must live as new creations who crave the Word of God. Pastor details some of the marks of the Christian’s new nature and concludes by exhorting Christians to repent and return to the Word of God if such craving has been lost.
1 Peter 1:22-2:3:
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. 24For,
“ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF, 25BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.”
And this is the word which was preached to you.
1Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
Lord, as we come to Your eternal word, that will never pass away, I pray, Lord, that we would come to love it and crave for it every day. That it would be the spiritual food for our soul. Without it, we would feel like we are starving. Like not having air to breath, we would feel like we are suffocating. Lord, I pray, as we look at the Word of God, we would see what it says. Again, Lord, bring us to understand it. Then, to also apply it to our lives. So, Lord, the Spirit of God can use the Word of God to sanctify us and grow us in respect to salvation. I pray that we would always be clear on the matter of salvation. That it would never be a cloudy thing in our mind, but that it would always be something crystal clear. Not only so that we understand ourselves, but that we would be able to explain to others. Bless us, Lord, as we look at this portion of Scripture. In Christ, I pray, Amen.
Currently, we are in the latter part of 1 Peter 1. This first section of Scripture is preparing and equipping us for what lies ahead, and for the hostilities that we will be facing in our life, as aliens living in this world, which include hostilities that will come from our own heart, from the world’s systems, from other people, and from our spiritual enemy, the devil and his minions that are against us.
So far, we have been looking at these exhortations, which are all in the realm of salvation. We have observed, first, that we are exhorted to have a fixed hope by soberly preparing our minds for action, and to fix our hope on the revelation of the Lord, Jesus Christ purposely for prayer and resisting the enemy. Secondly, we are exhorted to live a holy life. We are warned not to do or be what we used to be, in our new spiritual natures, so we are to be holy, especially since it is written in 1 Peter 1:16:
because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
Thirdly, we are exhorted to fear God, the Father. 1 Peter 1:17:
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;
As believers, we are to address the Father as an impartial judge. To His children, He is without respect of persons, judging each one according to their deeds after conversion. We should have the reverential fear of an obedient child to a loving Father, and to do it in a way where we don’t take God lightly, but we take God very seriously, not indifferently to what He is teaching us. Therefore, we should have a high level of respect, care, and humility towards God. That reverence rests upon two things: the knowledge that we have of God’s holy character from the Word of God, and the knowledge we have been given of God’s plan of redemption.
To have a fixed, future hope, to live a life of holiness, and to fear God has been preparing us to understand our vertical relationship with our God, and our vertical relationship with God spills over into our horizontal relationship with others. It even spills over into our relationship with ourselves, and since we’ve become believers, we are understanding ourselves better.
In the previously discussed exhortation, Christians are exhorted to love one another. If we were able to love people, in this way mentioned in 1 Peter 1:22, we would have no need to be exhorted to love one another. For the most part, the love we thought we had for others was driven by selfishness, superstitions, sensuality, social disorders, and personal accesses, which was always flowing out of an evil and sinful heart. Therefore, this portion of Scripture is describing for us what it looks like living as new people of God.
As children of God, we now have a new life in Christ, and there are new patterns that we notice and new principals that we must learn; then, live accordingly. We have seen that there are new patterns of life, which are characterized by ongoing inward purity. Also, in 1 Peter 1:22, we have seen a life that is committed to growing in love, which takes work. The motive and ability to obey this command to love, flows from the new birth. In other words, the divine seed of God, in the Gospel, implanted in our heart will produce in us this divine love, holiness, reverence, and future hope as a believer that knows this life is short, but that the Christian life is heading somewhere.
David Helm writes, in his understanding of 1 Peter, “In God’s book, we have found life. Through it then, let us express love. Peter wants Christians everywhere to be people known for living lives that demonstrate God’s love. Time is short. All flesh is like grass. Get about the business of growing-up in love.” We are to grow up in this characteristic of the Christian life, so how is it that anyone can grow in this kind of love, holiness, reverence, and future, fixed hope on the revelation of Jesus Christ?
This is not normal, human, or worldly thinking. Therefore, it must come from somewhere, and this is how you know you have new life in Christ. This pattern bleeds into certain principals, so we have a new principal of life. In 1 Peter 1:23, we get a sense that a new life in Christ is characterized by the eternal intentioned with the temporal. In other words, we are still here, but we are growing with an eternal, supernatural mindset that is coming to us from God through His word.
Thus, we get this tension going on since we wrestle against the spirit, the flow of the world, and things we used to know. Now, we know they are not right anymore, so there is tension that happens as we live this new principle of life, which is from being born again, not of seed which is perishable rather imperishable. Meaning, the origin of our new life is of a divine seed from God, and has, inside of it, an enduring life that cannot perish.
When this nonperishable seed drops into a heart prepared to receive it, it can only produce life. Presently, life that will produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit, the strength and endurance to live for God, and in the future, a life that will never end, which is the promise we have as a believer. 1 John 5:13:
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Believers know this truth. However, they may know it theoretically, and not quickly receive it practically. Peter is talking about practically understanding the idea of being different than before, and that you have an eternal life going on inside of you. Therefore, this word seed, in 1 Peter 1:23, focuses more on the process of sowing than on the seed as such: the contrast being drawn is between the human seed, which produces mortal life, and the divine seed, which produces eternal life.
What proceeds from human seed, in reproduction, is perishable and corruptible, and what proceeds from the divine seed, in reproduction, is that it is imperishable and incorruptible. Hence, this is the first thing to understand about this new life that we have, which comes from a divine seed that has been planted in our heart by God. From that, there is the instrument of the new birth, which is the eternal Word of God.
In 1 Peter, the Christian life has a process. The Word of God, that is the divine seed, enters your heart, which is the Gospel message centered in on Jesus Christ on the cross. That seed regenerates you, so you become born again. Then, you repent and believe the Gospel, and it imparts to your eternal life. From that point, it overcomes that which is corruptible and perishing in your life by replacing it with what is incorruptible and remaining forever.
As believers, we come to realize this eternal seed has been planted, and the instrument was the Word of God. Meaning, you cannot get saved apart from the Word of God. The Word of God is the very instrument God uses. It will not happen any old way, nor through dreams or visions. It will happen through the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. By the hearing of the Word comes faith, and that faith brings a person to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then, new life happens in your heart, and God is now transforming and sanctifying you.
In our text, we see that there is the temporal that is contrasted with the eternal. 1 Peter 1:24 indicates the impermanent nature of the natural man. Meaning, life is limited. Job 14:5:
Since his days are determined,
The number of his months is with You;
And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.
Job understood that life was limited. Also, that life is short. When you read Psalm 89-90, what is being communicated, and what Moses is really talking about, is that there were a lot of funerals in the wilderness. Everyday there may have been two, three, or more funerals in the wilderness. Because they disobeyed God, that generation was dying as they were heading to the promise land. Psalm 89:47-48:
Remember what my span of life is;
For what vanity You have created all the sons of men!
48What man can live and not see death?
Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?
As a pastor, I have been to a lot of funerals and I have done a lot of funerals, and until this very day, I do not like doing them. Matter of fact, I have a hatred for them. Every time I walk into a funeral home, whether the person is saved or not, I realize this: death is an enemy and it doesn’t even belong here. The Bible teaches us how death got here, but it is an enemy. Until the Lord completely conquers death, it will remain an enemy. Remember, Jesus conquered Satan and death, but we’re still waiting for all the consummation of the plan of salvation to come to an end. That is why our hope is fixed on when it is all done through the revelation of Jesus Christ. Psalm 90:5-6:
You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep;
In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew.
6In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew;
Toward evening it fades and withers away.
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
James gives us the sense that life is limited, short, uncertain, and full of trouble. Job 14:1-2:
“Man, who is born of woman,
Is short-lived and full of turmoil.
2“Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain.
That is a good view of life. We will not live for a long time; in fact, one-hundred-years from now, none of us will be here, which is a sobering thought. Peter wants us to grasp that the natural man will fade. We are going to wilt and dry up. In the Greek language, they call this nomadic arrest verb, which means, in 1 Peter, this is what always happens. For instance, we don’t know anyone that is three-hundred-years old. In the Old Testament, we find people like that, but they finally died. If God decided to sweep some people up to glory, like Enoch, then He decided to do that, but the natural man will die. Because man is created in the image of God, man does have a certain glory to them.
In 1 Peter 1:24, “like the flowers of grass,” is the glory of the natural man. Meaning, all that is good about us, all that is fair, attractive about humanity, the beauty, strength, wealth, honor, art, education, achievements human beings accomplish, and the greatness of humanity. We all have certain people that we consider people we would like to be like. Therefore, consider a flower, how beautiful the flower is, yet we know a flower will finally fade off and die.
Receiving flowers is a nice gesture. Some like to receive them and others not so much. Whatever the preference is, there are some things that are obvious about flowers. First, all too soon, the beauty of the flower will begin to fade, droop, and fall away. When someone receives a dozen roses, they’re picturesque, beautiful, and bright. Then you water them, get a little miracle growth to make sure they last, and you keep them alive and beautiful for as long as you can. Inevitably, they will fade, droop, and dry. Then, you either keep them in book or throw them out.
Subsequently, how long can a human being remain vibrant or attractive? A side note, the beauty industry is a multitrillion dollar industry, which is a recession-less product. It doesn’t matter what the economy is, they will be selling those products, especially since people want to stay young, vibrant, and healthy as possible. Though there is nothing wrong with that, the eternal part is about the relationship with God, and all the other stuff will drop off. Proverbs 31:30:
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
In saying this, man always passes away. We don’t like to think about that, but, Scripturally, we ought to think about the day we are going to die. In a healthy and good way, this will affect the way we live and our relationship with the Lord. This new life was not passed down to us from our parents, and the life we have received from our earthly parents will fade, wither, and pass away.
When we believed and received this message of the Gospel that came to us from Christ, from our Father, who is in heaven, it implanted new life in us that will last forever. Its seed is from God, who is eternal in His nature. Therefore, the flesh always withers and falls away, but the Word of God is always incorruptible and endures forever.
In 1 Peter 1:25, we note the imperishable nature of the Word of God, so you can see the contrast, in Scripture, between what passes away and what does not pass away. Therefore, we ought not to spend so much time on what passes away, but what doesn’t pass away. In this passage of Scripture, this is Peter’s point, and he is quoting from Isaiah.
From Isaiah 40-66, the message is about hope and renewal. While that message was being preached, the people were enduring captivity. They were enduring trouble in this life, and Isaiah 40:6-8 emphasizes on the transitory nature of human life in contrast to the eternal life that awaits us. By bringing this passage to the attention of the people, Peter intends his readers to see the whole context of Isaiah 40. Peter’s readers are like Israel in Isaiah’s day. The people were discouraged and on the verge of catastrophe, so this quote is intended to be a word of comfort to them, as well as to us. Isaiah 40:1-9:
“Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God.
2“Speak kindly to Jerusalem;
And call out to her, that her warfare has ended,
That her iniquity has been removed,
That she has received of the LORD’S hand Double for all her sins.”
3A voice is calling,
“Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
4“Let every valley be lifted up,
And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley;
5Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
6A voice says, “Call out.”
Then he answered, “What shall I call out?”
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
7The grass withers, the flower fades,
When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass.
8The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.
9Get yourself up on a high mountain,
O Zion, bearer of good news,
Lift up your voice mightily,
O Jerusalem, bearer of good news;
Lift it up, do not fear.
Say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
In Isaiah, we have the future look of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was telling the people that someday something will happen, which is going to come from God and it will be good news that will be proclaimed and bring eternal life to those who receive it. This good news comes with Jesus Christ and His message that carries the divine seed, which is living, enduring, and forever.
If you notice, in Isaiah 40:3, this passage of Scripture is talking about John the Baptist. Therefore, he is talking about a second exodus. However, this exodus is not a deliverance from the wilderness, but will come with the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is going to bring promised salvation, so John the Baptist levels the ground for the Messiah since the religious part of Israel is not preaching the good news. They have given up the good news, so John the Baptist clears the way and preaches of a gospel of repentance to a deaden, shallow, and religious group of people, who were indifferent about spiritual matters and effected by all kinds of subtle forms of hypocrisy. The current spiritual condition of the time, in which John the Baptizer ministered, are twofold: religious formality and comfortable hypocrisy.
John had come on the scene and cleared out all the obstacles for the coming of the Lord Jesus and His message, the Gospel message of the kingdom. John the Baptist preached repentance of sin, paving the way by pointing sinners to the Messiah. Then, Jesus comes behind John and preaches the same message of repentance. Mark 1:14-15:
Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Repentance becomes a vital part of preaching the Gospel of Christ, and repentance is that conscious recognition that you are a sinner and that you are turning to a savior who can forgive your sin, cancel it, make you right with God, reconcile you, who was once an enemy, to Himself, and give you eternal life.
In the equation of the prophet, Isaiah, was this understanding that someday there was going to be eternal life that came through the message of God to the people. The Word of God carries the divine seed with the message of hope and eternal life.
The Word of God Isaiah prophesized about to bring people comfort is the message that we have today, in 1 Peter 1:25. It is the same eternal Word of God that plants the eternal seed of God in someone’s heart, which produces the holiness, fear of God, love for the brethren and God, and the future look of all coming together in the revelation of Jesus Christ. We have the same Word of God today, and to be able to have that is quite amazing and thrilling. Therefore, your new life will last forever, not like your mortal life that will die.
Not always do we comprehend this concept or live with it in our mind. We need to stop centering our attention on this life, which will all end too quickly. Instead, focus our strength and attention in serving God in the new life that will last forever. Even during trials, temptations, testing’s, whatever the world can throw at us, and whatever this human body can throw at us, we can handle these things since we realize our life is fading, decaying, and going to pass away. However, there is something that will never pass away, and that is the new life in us, which God has given us.
So far, in our study of 1 Peter, we should be grasping the idea of He who begot us is holy, so we, as His children, must be holy. Since He is our judge and has ransomed us at a great price, we, His children, must conduct ourselves in reverential fear. Since we are born again of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, our relationships with our brethren must be one of sacrificial love and children of one father. Since we have been begotten by means of the eternal Word of God, we should long for the milk of the Word as the true and proper source of nourishment.
Peter brings us to realize that the things we have such as fixed-hope, to live a holy life, to fear God, and to love one another leads us to the last exhortation in this section of salvation. Henceforth, Christians are exhorted to crave the Word of God, which is the source of life, growth, and understanding we get in 1 Peter 2:1-3. This exhortation comes with two things: a negative command and a positive command.
First, the negative command is to strip off the sinful desires that stifle spiritual growth. If you notice, you will find out, in 1 Peter 2:1, that it is our responsibility to strip off the sinful desires that stifle spiritual growth. Also, the sins listed there are relational and community sins. They stifle our growth with each other since it hinders our growing relationship with each other, community, and unity.
In 1 Peter 2:1, all malice can be translated as evil, wickedness, trouble, and even a desire to put your hand around somebody’s neck. Malice leads to hatred. Also, all deceit, deception, guile, or a person who wants to mislead or trick others, with a desire to take advantage or control of them. Psalms 34:13:
Keep your tongue from evil
And your lips from speaking deceit.
You should not play with, entertain, or feed sin, so all your sins need to go into the garbage. If you don’t, then what it does is hinders your own spiritual growth, unity, and balance within the community. Thirdly, there is the sin of hypocrisy, which is false everything, insincerity, and the ability to want to fool somebody to think you are something that you are not.
On a side note, I understood hypocrisy when something happened to me one day. When I was in bible college, I met a young man and we became friends. We were in class together, we worked out together, he was very kind, and he endeared himself to me. Along the way, he needed a car to get around. This was back in 1982, and my father was not a believer yet, so I told him, “my father has an extra car and has been asking me if I know anyone who needs one, and he can sell it to you for a good price.
My father gave my friend the price, and my friend was willing to pay for the car. He gave him a small deposit and planned to pay monthly. Being that I was vouching for his character, my father was okay with the agreement. My father transferred over the car, my friend got in, drove off into the sunset, and I never saw him again.
Masking inward evil by an outward show of righteousness is hypocrisy. Of course, I felt like I was right in the middle. I was trying to witness to my dad, and now I am vouching for this guy’s Christian character and he drives away. When I go to school the next week, I get called to the office, being asked if I know Steve, and they informed me that he had warrants for his arrest in the state of New Jersey. He gave away no indication, but I may have been a little naïve too. I tried to recoup that with my dad, and it was tough.
About three or four years later, my father gets an apology phone call from Steve. He wanted to pay for the rest of the car, but my father said the apology was enough. That was the last I heard of him, but I understood that day what hypocrisy was, how it looks, and how it can really fool you to think that you’re looking at something genuine and it’s not.
God is saying, in Scripture, to not have this characteristic in your life. Don’t have this sin in your life, and don’t nurture this sin, especially since it is one that stifles your growth. Next, there is envy, which wants what others have. In other words, it is jealous, spite, and the opposite of thankfulness. People are envious of what other people have and what God has given them instead of being thankful that people may have more than you, and because God allowed it to be so. Covetousness and envy are stifles of growth and destroy the unity of the body.
Peter is not mentioning all the sins we should be avoiding. Specifically, these sins are the ones that will stifle your love for the brethren, your spiritual growth, and relationship with God if you don’t put it off. Lastly, Peter says to put off all slander. Meaning, the ability, with your words, to speak evil against someone, gossip, defame, run them down with words, or speak against someone to harm that person’s reputation.
There is power in words. A person doesn’t have to be there for you to run them down. Most of the time, they are not. You are just trying to gain some advantage or make yourself look better because you run somebody down. Those kinds of sins cannot be in the congregation of God’s people. Therefore, if you don’t throw all these sins on the garbage pile, you will stifle your growth.
As far as loving the brethren, you need to put off all relational and community destroying vices. All these sins aim at harming other people while Biblical love and holiness seek the good and advancement of others. Until these filthy rags of sin are put off, there is no spiritual growth or very little spiritual growth, and you will remain stuck in the refuge of your discarded sin and in the dumpster. As a Christian, you don’t want to remain in the dumpster, but you want to get out and make sure you are taking care of these sins. All these five, general sins are desire, growth-stifling quenchers. All show spiritual immaturity, not spiritual maturity.
Paul is talking to the Corinthian church, and he is saying to a group of believers, with stifled spiritual growth, who fail to strip off certain sins, 1 Corinthians 3:1-3:
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. 2I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?
The problem here is jealousy and strife. They’re not stripping it from their life, so it is hindering not only their spiritual growth, but Paul being able to feed them with more meat of the Word of God. Because of our position in Christ, this new-self that we have puts on new clothing. You get a sense, in this passage, that the new sense is alive, but not instantly mature. It must continue to grow in Christ-likeness.
Some have described it as a baby that has everything complete in this new small package, but now needs to be nourished and fed to grow healthy and mature. When a baby stops eating, it’s a situation that is going to be very detrimental. Raising this question: what are the marks of the genuine new-self within the believer?
First, a nature that loves God. You should love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and with all your strength. Also, a nature that longs for holiness, and it’s reaching out to keep being set apart by God. It is a nature that senses the resistance between the new-self and the flesh. In our minds, we were once dominated by sinful ideas, thinking, and desires, but now the Word of God is pushing those things out. Romans 8:5:
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
We are setting our minds to something other than what we are used to. In addition, we have a nature with a growing sensitivity to sin, which is the sense we get in 1 Peter. Before, we didn’t even know we were sinning. Now, we’re very aware that we are sinning, and we catch ourselves sometimes before they even take place. We’re catching our words before they even come out of our mouth. All our default sins are set aside.
Also, we have a new nature that avoids everything condemned in Gods word. What God says becomes important to us. Joshua 1:8:
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
As believers, we want to do things according to what the word of God says. Through His word, we hear from God, but sometimes believers will fail to do these things. Nonetheless, it will still be the regular direction of their life to want these things to be so in their character and transformation. The Word is always the criteria and measuring stick to know what is good, pleasing, and advancing in maturity.
Lastly, we have a new nature with an appetite for spiritual things. In 1 Peter 2:2, the positive command is to set your heart on the uncontaminated milk of the Word that will continue your spiritual growth, which is what we are exhorted to do. This last exhortation is in the realm of understanding salvation. In 1 Peter 2:2, the term word means rational, reasonable, belonging to the real nature of something, and belonging to the sphere of the spiritual. It is spiritual in the sense that the word is reasonable or the logical way for Christians to become what God wishes them to become spiritually.
In our verse, a key word is long, which is the understanding of longing, craving, or greatly desiring something. When you greatly desire something, you go get it because its an intense desire directed toward an object. In the verse, the object is pure milk. It is pointing to the relentless cry of an infant since it craves for its mother’s milk eight to fifteen times a day. When a baby cries because he or she is hungry, it demands a rapid reply. Otherwise, you have a sleepless night, things will not go well, and arguments happen. It’s an intensity that must be satisfied only by pure milk, not something like Doritos.
In the Old Testament, there was the concept of longing for the Word of God, so its not a new concept for God’s people. Psalms 119:20:
My soul is crushed with longing
After Your ordinances at all times.
Another way of describing the Word of God is Psalms 119:40:
Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me through Your righteousness.
Also, Psalms 119:131:
I opened my mouth wide and panted,
For I longed for Your commandments.
Ordinances, precepts, and commandments are three different words to describe the Word of God. As a result, you have a longing for the Word. Meaning, there is nothing else to long for like the Word. Other passages communicate the longing of God’s word such as Job 23:12:
I have not departed from the command of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.
The longing for the Word of God is the craving metaphor. Though, it is not just for new, infant Christians. It is the craving that we should always have all the time. It is for all Christians always, who are at all levels of the spiritual growth. As we move closer to heaven, our craving should get more intense, and we should understand that we need the Word of God and the transformation of the Word of God in our mind more than anything else. Everyday our view of the Word of God goes higher and higher because you find God’s speaking to us through His word. It is the King giving a message to His recipients, who are those in His kingdom.
Christians are to exemplify this in their intense yearning for the uncontaminated, unadulterated, pure, and spiritual milk of the eternal Word of God. All churches should give opportunities for Christians to interact with and learn the deep truths of the Word of God such as in Sunday School, weekly expositional preaching and teaching, youth ministry, men and women ministry, and home groups, and being part of everything that can give you more understanding of the Word of God, which we should be there all the time. We have a book ministry and a lending library to give you the ability to take something and learn more about it that will benefit and advance your spiritual growth.
The purpose of this nourishment, the pure milk of the Word, is for the believer to grow into the full experience of their salvation. Literally, the Word of God will grow you. Therefore, the Christian should take no spiritual nourishment but the Word of God. Christians should never settle for so called, “spiritual junk food.”
In 1 Peter 2:3, the metaphor of taste is still in our passage. So far, you should have gotten a correct view of God, which should have put a good taste in your heart concerning the kindness of God. When something tastes good, your taste buds want more. When you taste the kindness of God and understand the kindness directed toward you, you will want more of His kindness, goodness, and mercy. Therefore, Scripture is saying that the Christian has gotten a taste for this kindness from the Word of God.
The kindness was acted upon you, by the Word of God, to bring eternal life, so now you need to crave the Word of God, especially since it gives us a better understanding of the character of God, which is His goodness, mercy, and kindness. When our spiritual taste buds are energized, we are going to want more and more of the Word of God., and we will know that it is the pure Word of God. If it’s not, you will know it is junk food. Psalm 34:8:
O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
If you want to keep experiencing the kindness of the Lord, stay in the Word, keep craving the Word of God, and don’t try to sidetrack. We must seek the wholesome, saving Word, which is the manna for our soul. If you stop craving the pure milk of the Word of God, something is wrong in your heart. If you stop craving it forever, it could mean that you are not a believer. If you have an eternal, divine seed in your heart that is producing these things, then they will be in your life at different levels. Assuming you are a believer, but you are kind of dry, cold, and not too interested, how do you know if your desire for the Word of God has been quenched?
First, you stop going back to the source of your new life, which is the Word of God. Secondly, you become careless and negligent in putting off your sins. In our passage, malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander are things that cause you to get careless of putting them off and examining yourself. When sin is not dealt with, there is no desire for the Word. Also, you stop admitting you still need the Word.
No matter where we are in our spiritual journey, our craving should be like a newborn babe for the pure milk of the Word, not philosophy or signs. When your desire has been quenched, you stop pursuing spiritual growth. Then, you stop remembering who God is and who you are. 1 Peter 2:4-5:
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
If somehow you are not craving the Word anymore, those are some of the things you look for. If you’re not ever craving it again, look for your spiritual condition, especially since you need the Gospel and the seed of the Word of God in your heart.
Therefore, Christians are exhorted to crave for the Word by stripping off the sinful desires that stifle spiritual growth, and by setting your heart on the uncontaminated Word of God for continued spiritual growth. This will bring you into the other exhortations mentioned so far such as a fixed hope on Christ, holy life, fear of God, love one for another, and a craving for the Word of God. They all go together, and they are not a separate package, but one package.
Clearly, Peter wants us to understand our salvation, and he wants us to understand more than anything that we are saved. This living principal of the divine seed is working in our life, which we can see. Sometimes we’re wrestling with it, and there is the tension between the mortal life and new, eternal life. Ultimately, our desire is to pursue God’s word. There is no other source that is perfectly safe and reliable to produce real spiritual growth and godliness than the unadulterated Word of God. You cannot substitute it with anything else. Let’s pray:
Lord Jesus, I do Thank You for this section of Scripture. Not only is it a section that is fleshing out theology, but it is also giving us a clear understanding of how that theology looks practically. Lord, for that, I know that I have been thankful since we can look at our own life and evaluate it. Lord, if there is anything in this passage that has come to us and brought to our attention our own walk with You, then I pray, Lord, if sins need to be put off or taking care of, that we would not waste time. If any garbage that is in our heart that is still there, which we are holding onto, then I pray, Lord, we cast it away from us and strip it off and put on the new garment of righteousness. I pray, Lord, that You would always make us aware of our craving for truth. Our desire to know more than we do know about who You are, what Your plan is, and what You are doing, so we can be not just learners, but teachers of the Word of God. That we may explain it to other people, and that the Word of God would be shown in our life by our changed life. Thank You, Lord, for this passage of Scripture. I know it is going to be beneficial for us, from this day forward. I pray, in Christ’s name, Amen.