I Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
As we have noted many times, true salvation requires actions that fit with that gift. Something that God reminds us of often is that salvation is His gift to those who repent toward God and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Man does not set the standard of salvation. Man does not determine what the fruit of salvation looks like.
In verse 1 of our text, we begin with the word “wherefore”. Wherefore tells us that what is coming is being built on that which was already declared. We have been reminded that God’s salvation is based upon a Saviour Who is not corrupted. His blood is precious. His blood can save and those who are saved are changed. Salvation is a precious gift that is without comparison. It is of vital importance for man. God’s salvation is the only way of forgiveness and of eternal life. It is of critical importance.
We are told to lay aside all malice. Malice is “badness” or “depravity”. There is no room in true Christianity for badness. Does this mean that Christians do not sin? The Bible is clear on this; Christians do sin. I John deals very clearly with the answer to this. True Christians do not lie and claim they do not sin. They do not redefine sin to make it seem they do not sin. True Christians admit that they sin and they confess that sin to God and seek His forgiveness. When a Christian confesses his sin, he is obviously desiring to be set free from the bondage of that sin. True Christianity does not pattern itself after Catholic confessionals. Catholics are taught to confess their “sin” and they are then told to pay the subsequent fee, whether that be money or “hail Marys” or some other nonsense. The Catholic religion does not expect nor teach that their followers should stop sinning. Their false philosophy is a cash cow for them.
True Christians are expected to stop sinning. There are an innumerable number of sins that a person can commit. In I John we are reminded that Christians cannot be guilty of habitual sin. In our text, Peter stated that those who are saved need to “lay aside”. That means we are not to continue the sin and keep confessing it. It is not laying aside to pick up again. It means we are to acknowledge the sin and take the necessary steps to stop committing the sin. This is not a self effort. It is through humbly submitting to God’s Word and receiving the strength to stop the sin through the grace of God.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
We know that sometimes a true saint will try to cover up their sin. We also know that God does not allow that to stand. Sin must be addressed and confessed as sin, for those who are truly born again.
Back in our text, we are commanded to lay aside all malice, and all guile. Guile is “deceit” or a “decoy”.
I listened to a conversation of a person trying to defend the pit bull dog breed. This person was trying to suggest that certain strains of the breed are very gentle, etc. The fact is that pit bulls are bred for fighting. They cannot be trusted. Too many children and adults have been mauled or killed by these dogs. It is foolish to try to justify owning one of these dogs unless you are in a war zone where you need that dog to protect your life.
That type of justification is what Peter is speaking of with regard to sin. There is no white lie. There is no lesser of two evils. Sin is sin and the true child of God cannot try to justify it.
The true child of God cannot be a hypocrite. The Pharisees were not children of God. They were false teachers. They were whited sepulchres. They were frauds. True Christians do not just put on a show. True Christians must be genuine.
Peter also stated that we need to lay aside hypocrisies. We have already mentioned this. Hypocrisy is “acting” like something we are not. We have mentioned before that Hollywood is full of hypocrites. They are actors who study a certain character and act like that character even though that is not who they actually are. Any drama is also a form of hypocrisy. It is someone who acts like someone in a certain story. People like to watch drama. They are impressed with people who act out certain character traits. Drama can pull on the emotional strings of the person. We would not invite a murderer to come into our church with a loaded gun and start shooting people. However, we would bring in an actor who would pretend to be a murderer and who would pretend to have murdered someone and maybe then got saved. It is generally not a true account. It is something that is acted out with the intent to try to work on the emotions of the viewers to try to get a certain response from them.
God says the true child of God needs to lay aside all hypocrisies and envies. Envy is “ill will” or “jealousy”. The true child of God cannot wish evil upon someone else. The true child of God does not wish some successful person would have a failure so that the other person might look better. The true child of God cannot be motivated by jealousy.
Evil speakings is “defamation” or “back-biting”. True Christians cannot be involved in this evil either. Speaking evil of others to try to bring them down so that you look better cannot be a part of the Christian character.
Too often people distort this and say we should not name names of people who are guilty of certain things. Jesus named names. He called out the Pharisees often. The apostle Paul named names. There are times when naming names is necessary. The purpose of naming names is not to slander the person. It is to expose the person for who they truly are and to warn others to stay away from them. There are too many people who blindly follow the wrong person. They lack discernment. They get all excited about some person because they boast of doing certain things, but they are frauds. The Charismatics have their “faith healers”. Their people adore these people because they have such “wonderful” stories to tell of individuals who they claim to have helped. Interestingly those people are generally in some other town or they talk of something that they claim happened that did not actually happen. They prey on the gullible.
Those who have the love of God in their hearts do not want to see others hurt. They want to warn others and help them to avoid the pitfalls that the devil sets.
Peter was directed to remind the saints that they are to be as newborn babes. True Christians never come to the place where they “have arrived”. We are always learning. We have much to learn. We need to be growing. True saints grow by ingesting the sincere milk of the Word. We see again why it is necessary to know what the Word of God is. We can know this. We do not need to settle for the multiplicity of perversions and scratch our heads as to which one is right. We cannot rely on our “gut feeling” as to which one we assume to be “closest” to the truth. We have an accurate text preserved for us by the true and living God. We can partake of the sincere milk of the word. God would not command us to do so if it were not available for us.
The purpose of taking this sincere milk of the word is to grow thereby. We need to become stronger. The writer of the book of Hebrews stated:
Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Those who are saved need grow to be able to teach others the truth. There are many teachers today, but they are false teachers. The true child of God feeds on the truth and is thus able to discern the truth from the lie.
The clincher here is in verse 3. Are you saved? If you are saved, then you must do as verse 1 says and you must put up the safe guards that would hinder you from going after the sincere milk of the word.
There is much talk of a healthy diet these days. We have come to accept the processed food that is mass produced for convenience sake. The companies can make huge profits with this stuff but it is not healthy for us. The companies do not care about your health. The bottom line is to make money. Those who are awake, study to know the ingredients of what is in that processed food. Those who are awake do not just shrug this off and eat the poison anyway. They deliberately choose healthy food even if it is a little more expensive.
In the spiritual realm, the true child of God takes the time and effort to find out what is right and good for them. The Holy Spirit works in the heart of the true child of God to guide them in their search. God will lead His child to the truth.
We have noted before that the first century Christians met together daily for the apostles doctrine. The writer of Hebrews tells us we should be getting together more as we see the day approaching. There must be a lot of blind people who profess to be Christians today. They do not seem to see the day approaching because many are not even faithful in the few services that a true church has. We are becoming weaker because we are not availing ourselves of the food that God has provided. There used to be good Bible conferences held from time to time. The preaching there was not story telling. It was sound preaching with conviction and boldness. Sin was called out and righteousness was taught. People would flock to these meetings. They wanted to be challenged. Now we want puppets and story time. We want to bring our comfy blanket and snuggle up to the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and just feel good about life.
That does not work. It will never bring about the growth that God says must be there.